Onondaga Community College is showing off a new building that crosses a 60-foot high gorge that splits the campus in half. But, college officials say it does more than connect the campus physically.
Academic II is being described as a bridge with a building around it. It spans the gorge that divides the campus. With smart classrooms, offices, a 150-seat recital hall and soundproof practice rooms, it will be the center for the school's music program, according to OCC President Casey Craybill. And she says that bridges another divide.
"I think a lot of students when they go to college, think they can't study music. And you really can. So this building is filled with people who can help with the pursuit of music. The classrooms are used by other disciplines, so students will be exposed. And the recital hall, which will be open for Friday concerts, is going to draw people together," said Craybill
Sophmore Travis Kirk is a music major who see's this facility taking the music department to the next level. "Not only does it serve better, it's more efficient, it's more effective, it's better for learning. It's a beautiful building. It's more attractive for students that come to OCC. When they see it they will want to stay here."
David Abrams has been a music professor at OCC for 38 years agrees that Academic II does more than bring students in from the cold as they cross campus.
"It's kind of like what Nancy Cantor did at SU with the connective corridor -- bringing the SU campus downtown. Now we bridge the east and west sides of our campus," said Abrams.
This new building continues a recent expansion of the OCC campus over the last decade. Craybill says the next project could surround more innovation.
"We've got a wonderful building called Coulter. It's home to our library, it's home to some computer support centers. It's home to our counseling department. It's an original building, so it's probably time to look at how can we infuse some modern technology into the heart of our library," said Craybill.
The building will be shown off to the public in an open house on Saturday.