An artist rendering of James B. Colgate Hall after renovations.

An artist rendering of James B. Colgate Hall shows the front of the building after planned renovations.

There is no second chance when it comes to a first impression.

Thanks to a lead gift from Dan ’86 and Ellie Hurwitz P’17 and the support of other Colgate community members, visitors to campus in March will be the first to experience an entirely renovated and renamed Hurwitz Admission Center in James B. Colgate Hall.

“With more than 8,000 prospective students and their families visiting the Office of Admission each year, it is essential for the university to have a space that effectively showcases the academic quality and value of a Colgate degree in a way that visitors will remember long after their campus visit experience,” said Vice President and Dean of Admission Gary Ross.

The entirely donor-funded project is being designed by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., the same firm responsible for the campus master plan.

Visitors will be greeted by new immersive multi-media displays incorporating video and award-winning campus photography. Existing side doors will be replaced with a new central entrance, and the two open-air porches will be enclosed with glass, creating more space for comfortable waiting areas. The building’s exterior landscape will be redesigned to become more functional, with new seating areas giving visitors an option to relax while enjoying the natural beauty of campus.

“The renovated space is being designed to maintain and enhance the personal attention our visitors receive every day,” said Ross. “We are so appreciative for the support and commitment of the Hurwitz family, and we look forward to meeting future prospective students at this exciting new welcome center.”

New visual elements will be added to the admission informational session, and digital signage will assist visitors in their navigation of campus. Plans for a new Chipwich freezer also are included — an important feature —  because visitors consumed more than 11,000 of the traditional tour-end treats last year.

Work on the $2.5 million renovation is slated to begin in November, and fundraising is now in its final stages. Project completion is estimated for February 2014. Visitors to campus will be greeted at a temporary Office of Admission space in James C. Colgate Hall while the welcome center is under construction.