RIT Henrietta Campus planning documents
Scope and Contents
The Henrietta Campus planning documents consist of materials related to the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) relocation from the city of Rochester to the suburbs of Henrietta, NY. The collection includes documents related to various aspects of the project including the planning process, architecture, construction, and physical move. A large portion of the collection is made up of preliminary findings compiled on different parts of the university. For instance, there is information on preliminary studies done on the College of Business, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the library, and parking and traffic conditions. These preliminary studies include correspondence, projections (e.g. space requirements, enrollment figures, etc.), meeting minute, proposed floor plans, and other related materials. There is also information from various committees including Trustees Committee for the College of Business, the Trustees Education Committee, and a Student Housing Subcommittee.
- Creation: 1961-1968
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to researchers.
Biographical / Historical
The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was originally located in the city of Rochester, NY. In 1961, the university's Board of Trustees voted to relocate the campus to Henrietta, a suburb south of the city. The decision was several years in the making. Following World War II, the Institute had seen a rapid growth in enrollment figures and new programs were being added. The school had gone from a unique institute of higher learning to one that granted associate, bachelor, and master degrees, as well as seeking accreditation. It was becoming increasingly clear that the school would need to expand, the question was whether it would rebuild its current campus or relocate to a different part of the metropolitan area.
In 1951, RIT committed $30 million toward building up the campus as part of a neighborhood renewal project. For years, the City of Rochester had been trying to revitalize the city's Third Ward and RIT was a key component of this project. Then, in 1959 the New York State Department of Public Works announced that the Rochester Inner Loop expressway would be built through the heart of RIT's campus. The Eastman Building, which was constructed with funds donated by George Eastman in 1901, was to be destroyed in the process. The anticipated result was that the college would be split in half by the new thoroughfare.
After considering several options, the board voted on November 20, 1961 to relocate the campus to a new area. The vote passed with 32 in favor, 2 against, and 1 abstention. The City of Rochester was unhappy with the decision given that RIT was seen as important to the Third Ward's eventual revitalization. However, given the state of the neighborhood and restrictions present in a city environment, it seemed to the administrators that staying in the city would not be in the Institute's best interest. Additionally, a Rochester resident, Grace Watson, had unexpectedly left over $3 million to the Institute. The largest gift in the university's history, it helped address the financial burden of relocating the entire school.
Emil Muller, an RIT graduate, helped the university obtain 1300 acres of farmland in the suburb of Henrietta. Henrietta - named for the daughter of Sir William Johnstone Pulteney, a prominent New York landowner - was established in 1817. Although most of the area was farmland, Mark Ellingson shared in a letter that the university's administrators believed that Henrietta would be the "center of the Rochester Metropolitan area within the next few years." Ground was broken on November 2, 1964 and by September 1968 the first classes were held. The total cost of the project was around $60 million and included residence halls, administrative offices, academic offices, lecture halls, a library, a student union, and a gymnasium. Most importantly, the new campus included space. RIT's city campus had consisted of 13 acres. The new 1300 acre campus was meant to sustain the college 100 years into the future.
2.25 Linear Feet (4 document boxes and 1 half document box)
Materials related to the development and construction of the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) campus in Henrietta, NY. RIT relocated its campus from downtown Rochester to the suburbs of Henrietta in 1968. The collection includes documents related to the college's move such as correspondence, meeting minutes, preliminary reports, and clippings.
This collection is currently unprocessed.
Other Finding Aids
In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.
Henrietta Campus planning documents
Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in April 2011.
Genre / Form
- Henrietta Campus planning documents
- RIT Archives
- Lara Nicosia
- 06 April 2011
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- Language of description note