Deep Dive: Jephson Campus

The rags to riches story of Cazenovia College Art staple.

In 2014, Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects, P.C. was selected by the College to design the addition/reconstruction project for Cazenovia College Jephson Campus Building A. This building, built circa 1890, had originally been a private club, which then transitioned into a residence, professional office building and later developed into the South Campus extension of Cazenovia College.

Building condition surveys are a service Teitsch Kent Fay Architects uses quite frequently in order to set a standard of the major building elements' current condition, and project the “remaining useful life” of each. Upon being awarded the contract, a building condition survey was conducted at Jephson Campus. Our team found there was extreme deterioration in many of the major building elements. The floor, roof, and exterior wall elements had all fallen into serious disrepair due to age and years of deferred maintenance. Asbestos Abatement testing was conducted and discovered high levels of contamination. Structural investigations determined the best way to stabilize the existing structure. Topographic surveys were used to develop site drainage, and underground fuel oil tank remediation removed any contaminated soils.

While all of these testing and investigation processes were underway, Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects, P.C. met with College Administration, and Faculty Members to develop a “Program of Space Needs'' for the building. This program is essentially the “road map” for the new design which lists all the required teaching spaces, support spaces and equipment needs. After the program was clearly delineated and the existing conditions were properly documented, it became abundantly clear that the needed space was analogous to putting 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag, in that every bit of the existing building would be needed to accomplish what the College needed. This left little to no room for building services (HVAC, Sprinkler Systems, etc.), or building accommodations (toilet rooms, accessibility elements, circulation elements).

During the design process a new addition, behind the historic portion of the building, was planned to house the non-classroom support spaces: elevator, toilet rooms, mechanical, etc. This allows the entire original building to be used for program spaces: offices, drawing studios, lecture space and maker’s spaces. The required new corridor connecting the two buildings was widened, to also be used for pin up of projects, and juried criticism spaces, making an otherwise non-teaching space part of the educational program.

The large windows on the upper floor of the original building provided great natural light for drawing studios. The lower level lacked the light necessary for many artistic endeavors which made it the perfect location for the wood shop, ceramic & glass shops, metal shop and kiln rooms. Locating these services on the lower level made it possible to add the adequate ventilation equipment to make these processes safe to use.

The existing building was too short to allow for space between the floors for ductwork and mechanical equipment. Because of this, we developed a series of under-slab tunnels to allow the ductwork to be located below the floor without compromising the programmatic space.

Historic elements of the building’s exterior were restored, including the beautiful masonry details of the original chimneys. The original stone exterior was also repaired, repointed, and cleaned. The new addition was detailed with a stone finish to harmonize with the existing, while also being distinct from the original historic building fabric. The entire roof structure was stabilized, and leveled to remove sagging that had taken place over the life of the building. In addition to the building elements, the historic stone pillars and entry gates to the site were restored and reconditioned. All of this work renewed the historic elements of the site allowing the best of the past to be maintained, while making the site a vital part of the College’s future .

The project was successfully bid and construction took place over 18 months from bidding to project close out. Careful coordination took place throughout this project between the College, our team, and the Contractor to allow construction to take place on a site of limited size, with only one access point (through the historic gate mentioned above), while also maintaining access to the other teaching building behind, which remained in use throughout the construction period.

The facility had its grand opening on September 25, 2016, during which representatives of the local community expressed their appreciation to the College for returning one of the architectural gems of Cazenovia to its former glory. The building continues to serve the Cazenovia College community, and due to careful selection of interior materials, the facility appears very much the same as it did at the time of its opening, in spite of the fact that high-use activities like painting, welding, and ceramic firing take place here. Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects, P.C. and our design team were delighted to be able to assist Cazenovia College with this project, and are very proud of how it has turned out.

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