Site-clearing Underway for New Arts and Technology Center

This is what the Center for Center for Creative Arts and Technology will eventually look like. Plans and pictures like these were drawn up well before the demolition to show to families and faculty/staff.

In 2024, the rubble and construction vehicles that families, teachers, and staff drive by every day will be replaced with a new and strikingly modern building, starting a new era for the Performing Arts, Visual Arts, and Technology departments at Hackley. Auditoriums that are large and acoustically sound, a makerspace, a scene shop, and an art gallery are only a few of the things that will change the way these subjects are taught, learned, and perceived. The most notable change on campus since June 2022 is the destruction of the Performing Arts Center, as Hackley prepares for a new Center for the Creative Arts and Technology. This marks the start of a new chapter in the school’s “Strategic Plan,” as the school gears up for the new opportunities this space will present.
As of the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, the demolition of the PAC is fully complete. Fortunately, only 35% of these materials will be deposited in landfills, with the rest of the materials recycled and reused sustainably. The site is currently being prepared for the new foundation to be poured, with the expectation that the building should be ready for use sometime in 2024. After this, the Zetkov building will be demolished, leaving room for views of Tarrytown, and potentially the Hudson River and the Mario Cuomo bridge.
This new construction is an exciting prospect, but the demolition of the old Performing Arts Center forces students and teachers to adapt quickly. The Performing Arts Department has fully relocated to the Zetkov building, which eventually will also be demolished. This building was the old gym until the Johnson Center was constructed in 2018, and the old PAC was the gym before that. Since the performing arts department has been using old athletics facilities, it has never had a space that was designed just for them and their needs. Dr. Lauren Rigby, conductor for the Hackley orchestra and chamber group director is particularly excited about this aspect of the new building.
“I’m looking forward to the positive feelings associated with having really nice surroundings.” The center will consist of many features like a concert theater, a black box theater, modern classrooms, and more, which will contribute to an aesthetically pleasing space for the artists and computer scientists at Hackley. “That also elevates what we’re doing musically because it’s showing that we value the arts enough that we’re going to create this space.” Dr. Rigby said. However, the years ahead pose challenges for students and teachers alike as our many young artists crowd into the Zetkov building. Factors such as deafening construction noise, a lack of space, and the fact that the building is not conducive to playing its new role over the next two years are some of the ways in which these challenges will arise. “It wasn’t intended for arts; it wasn’t intended for orchestras, theater productions, chorus, and band,” said Dr. Rigby.
Even though there is some struggle as these changes are navigated, there is still a palpable excitement among those who will have the chance to experience the Center for the Creative Arts and Technology. The prospect of this building keeps Hackley musicians, artists, and computer scientists inspired and passionate about their vocations.
“I would love to see how it’s designed to fit the technology and arts departments to see not only how it can specify one thing, but [also] how the two departments can grow,” said Isaac Ahn, a freshman involved in chorus and chamber ensembles.
It’s important to recognize that the center will cater to many avenues Hackley students pursue and the new frontiers that will open for the school as a result of that. The Computer Science department never had a proper space to call its own, and with new state-of-the-art lab spaces and offices, they will gain necessary proximity to one another.
“We are doing our best to communicate ways to create modernized computer labs that mimic the workplace and allow for collaborative experiences. Think writable surfaces, screen sharing, and movable and comfortable furniture options. Desktop computers aren’t the center of our computer labs anymore and that’s a luxury!” said Ms. Melissa Tranchida, head of the Computer Science department.
The joining of multiple departments in the same building also makes way for an already burgeoning partnership between the arts and technology programs. “The Center for  the Creative Arts and Technology will make it even easier to think of other ways to collaborate just being in the same space,” Ms. Tranchida said.
The next two years will be a time of adjustment and change but also filled with anticipation for the experiences ahead. The opportunities for advancement, partnerships, and instruction that this building presents mark a new phase of development for the school and many of its curricular offerings.