URI’s fully renovated Ranger Hall opens its doors to students

A total of nearly $15 million in renovations make Ranger Hall a dynamic new home for URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media.

KINGSTON, R.I. – Sept. 15, 2022 – With the start of the fall 2022 semester, students in University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media got their first look at the fully renovated Ranger Hall—Harrington’s vibrant hub on URI’s Kingston Campus.

In August, the University completed the final round of renovations to the historic structure located along URI’s iconic Quad. The latest updates, along with an initial round of renovations completed in 2016, provide Harrington students with a dedicated learning and creative space, complete with media and film labs, video editing facilities, active-learning classrooms, computer labs, and more.

Students make use of a state-of-the-art digital editing suite in Ranger Hall.

A formal grand opening for the new facility is scheduled for late October, but as fall classes begin at URI’s Kingston campus, the new Ranger Hall is already buzzing.

“This is an exciting moment for the Harrington School and for the University as a whole,” said Ammina Kothari, a professor of journalism and director of the Harrington School. “It’s rare for a communication and media school to have a dedicated building with state-of-the-art facilities like we have in Ranger Hall. It goes a long way toward creating an inclusive community across our academic programs where our students can meet, collaborate, learn, and create.”

The first part of the project completed in 2016 renovated Ranger Hall’s first floor. That phase of the project created a film screening room, video editing suites with modern computers and software, computer labs, classroom space, and a living/learning room for students to gather, study, and collaborate. A media equipment center provides cameras, microphones, and other equipment for multimedia projects.

The newly completed final phase of the project renovated Ranger’s second, third, and fourth floors, opening an additional 23,600 square feet of usable space. The newly completed work adds a total of seven new classrooms, including active-learning classrooms that provide students a learning environment designed for collaboration. Two new editing suites are available for visual media projects. The new Film Production Lab serves as a teaching sound stage, with a green screen, property room and space to build walled sets. There are informal study spaces throughout the building to provide students with spaces to work, relax, or chat with classmates.

The vision for Ranger, Kothari says, was to create a space that serves all of Harrington’s diverse student population. The Harrington School offers seven academic programs, including communication studies, journalism, public relations, sports communication and media, writing and rhetoric, film media and more. While each program offers students unique and specialized opportunities, Kothari says, they’re also interconnected in ways that offer students opportunities to collaborate. Having Ranger Hall as Harrington’s hub on campus will deepen those collaborations.

“This building is about bringing people together,” Kothari said. “We’re building community among our students and faculty and adding to the vibrance of the campus.”

Abby Wildgoose, a junior film media major from Warwick, agreed that bringing Harrington students together is an important part of the new Ranger Hall.

“They designed this space to better reflect the way our community operates,” Wildgoose said. “The students who go to Ranger know they’re entering a space where community is the base of our education.”

Jenna Wentworth, a senior from Tewksbury, Massachusetts, double majoring in theatre and communication studies, agreed.

“I’m in two very different majors, and this is a space where I can get together with my classmates from both to collaborate,” she said.

Christoff Bandele, a junior film media major who hails from Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives in Pawtucket, said he’s looking forward to utilizing some of Ranger’s specialized spaces.

“I’m really excited to see what the new and improved Ranger has to offer,” he said. “With the new film production lab and upgraded editing suites, I’m excited to see what the new school year will bring and what I’ll be able to produce.”

The new spaces in Ranger complement communication and media facilities elsewhere on campus, including Harrington’s state-of-the-art Broadcast Center located in Chafee Hall. The renovations also provide space for Harrington’s administrative staff, giving students easy access to advising and other services.

“Ranger now provides the Harrington School with a true home on campus,” Kothari said. “It’s very exciting to watch our students getting to know this new space.”

A host of donors, led by Richard and Jean Harrington, along with funding from URI made the new facility possible. In all, the renovations represent an investment of nearly $15 million. 

“This project will solidify Harrington’s reputation as a nationally recognized leader in communication and media education,” said Jeannette Riley, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in which Harrington is housed. “We are deeply grateful to our donors who shared our vision for this project and played critical roles in making it happen.” 

The University plans to celebrate the generosity of Harrington’s donors at a grand opening event in October.