The Department of Media Arts, and ultimately the entire School of Communications and Information Systems, will be housed in what is now the Wayne Center, a one-story, U-shaped building that formerly housed the facilities services department. The building, constructed in 2002, sits on a gentle rise on the eastern perimeter of campus, across from the intramural field and adjacent to the Upper Massey parking lot.
When the entire project is completed, the building will include three stories and 53,000 square feet, featuring a first-floor atrium, café, and public art gallery. Construction is taking place in phases. During the first phase, underway since November, the building’s existing shell, approximately 20,000 square feet, is being renovated to provide studio and classroom space for the Media Arts programs, which will move into the facility from downtown Pittsburgh next fall.
The second phase will consist of a threestory addition that will be built in what is now the Wayne Center courtyard, and will add 33,000 square feet to the existing structure. The second and third floors will include faculty offices and a screening room. The building also will include digital and film photo labs, a metal shop and a wood shop, and four general purpose classrooms. The exterior of the building will feature a prominent video screen to display student work and messages, visible to much of campus.
The building will have extended hours, a traditional facet of art schools, where students and faculty like to congregate, collaborate, and bounce ideas off one another any time, night or day. That not only eliminates the inconvenience of having to shuttle back and forth downtown – particularly since most Media Arts students live on campus – but it will also integrate the Media Arts programs fully into the life of the campus. The facility adds a cultural component to RMU that we plan to share with the Moon Township community.
Once both phases are completed, the Wayne Center project will free Patrick Henry Center for the School of Education and Social Sciences, another step in providing each of our academic schools with their own dedicated space.