Introducing the New SVA Welcome Center
August 29, 2017
by Michelle Mackin
Just in time for the 2017 – 2018 academic year, a purpose-built, two-story space has opened on the ground floor and lower level of 342 East 24th Street, in the same building as the 24th Street Residence, SVA’s newest and largest residence hall. Housing the College’s Admissions, Financial Aid and Student Accounts offices, this facility integrates with Student Affairs and the International Student Office—which moved to the 24th Street Residence building in 2016—making the location “the de facto student enrollment center for the College,” says Javier Vega, executive director of Admissions and Student Affairs.
For many years, Admissions, Financial Aid and Student Accounts offices were in SVA’s 209 East 23rd Street building, the six-story edifice that is home not only to other administrative offices, but the SVA Gramercy Gallery, classrooms, studios and more. There, Admissions was scattered among three different floors and lacked dedicated spaces for applicant meetings and recruitment presentations. The new space combines all Admissions operations on one floor and includes some new amenities: a 40-seat presentation room where prospective students and parents can be introduced to the College, as well as glass suites that border the reception area, allowing for one-on-one portfolio reviews.
“For years we’ve thought about developing a custom-designed space that would allow us to welcome and work with prospective students in a more dynamic way,” says Matthew Farina, director of Admissions, whose input helped guide the new offices’ design. “Now this is finally possible.”
Likewise, Financial Aid and Student Accounts—which had previously occupied offices on two separate floors—have been integrated into one fluid space on the building’s lower level, sharing presentation and conference rooms. “We are excited about this opportunity to service our students and their families in a more open and inviting atmosphere,” says William Berrios, director of Financial Aid. “Financial Aid and Student Accounts work closely together, so our greater proximity makes students’ interactions with us that much more convenient.”
To shepherd the project from design through construction, Executive Vice President Anthony P. Rhodes led a team comprising several SVA administrators, architect Laurence Jones and engineer Rose Molina, of Levien & Company, the building’s project management company. The new space also highlights original work by students and alumni from all SVA programs. BFA Illustration faculty member Riccardo Vecchio (MFA 1996 Illustration as Visual Essay) has created a large-scale indoor mural, and above the reception desk are digital screens featuring student work curated by Gail Anderson (BFA 1984 Media Arts), creative director of the Visual Arts Press, the College’s in-house design studio. Additionally, a video display will soon be found on the building’s exterior walls, spanning the corner of East 24th Street and First Avenue.
“It is a vibrant and innovative feature that puts the creative output of the College on full display, day and night,” says Farina. “I can’t think of a better facade for Admissions.”
Related post: A Look Inside SVA's Newest Residence Hall [Slideshow]