AU’s National Casting Center Foundry moves to on-campus location

ALFRED — After 12 years at its original location on Route 244 in Alfred, the National Casting Center Foundry has found a new temporary home on the Alfred University campus and efforts are underway to ensure it will be up and running for the 2019-20 academic year.

The National Casting Center is run by the New York State College of Ceramics School of Art and Design’s Sculpture/Dimensional Studies program and comprises state-of-the-art facilities in metal casting and glass casting. Metal casting operations are housed at the NCC Foundry.

Approximately three weeks ago, workers began moving equipment from the former location to a building behind Harder Hall, in space previously used as the Sculpture/Dimensional Studies Department’s metal fabrication shop. The metal fabrication shop moved into space in the same building that previously housed the department’s mixed media facilities, which have now been relocated into Sculpture/Dimensional Studies flex space in Harder Hall.

Alfred State College owns the building where the foundry had been located, and was leasing it to the New York State College of Ceramics. The foundry’s move to the Alfred University campus was necessitated by Alfred State’s decision to repurpose the building.

“It is important to note that we are committed to the uninterrupted continuation of the program while we plan for a permanent facility that will house the foundry of the National Casting Center,” said Gerar Edizel, dean of the School of Art and Design.

Metal working equipment from the former foundry facility is being consolidated with equipment already on campus. Some of the equipment from the former facility – a bridge crane used to pour large sculpture; an induction furnace for melting iron, steel and stainless steel – is being stored until a larger facility is available.

Workers in the NYSCC Physical Plant have been busy getting the new space ready with electrical, ventilation and plumbing needs. Coral Lambert, professor of sculpture, and Jamie Babcock, director of facilities and capital projects, have been overseeing details of the move, with the help of two student alumni – Zach Tyrell ’19 (BFA) and Zach Shaw ’17 (BFA).

A pavilion is being constructed adjacent to the foundry that will house a bronze/aluminum furnace and a forge. The iron furnace will be portable. The temporary foundry facility, at 1,000 square feet, is considerably smaller than the 7,000 square feet of the former location.

“Although this will be on a much smaller scale, it’s important to know our students will still be getting a valuable hands-on hot metal casting experience and education,” Lambert commented.

“We will be much more visible on campus,” Lambert continued, noting the new temporary location will enhance the experience not only of existing students, but also that of prospective students visiting the University. “We’re excited to be on campus, and working toward a new facility.”

The facility behind Harder Hall is expected to be up and running in time for the start of the 2019-20 academic year. It will serve approximately 40 sculpture/dimensional studies students and four sculpture faculty: associate professor Brett Hunter and Lambert, visiting professor of sculpture Alexa Horochowski, and adjunct instructor Diego Loya.

For the last 12 years, the foundry has hosted its popular Iron Pour Meltdown, which draws faculty and students, and artists – some of them alumni – from around the country. Thousands of pounds of iron are melted and participants use it to create sculptures, some of which are displayed at an end-of-semester exhibition. Lambert said the event will continue, with the 13th annual Meltdown slated for the end of October.

“The facilities crew has been incredible. We wouldn’t be where we are without them and my two hard-working assistants,” she said.

Post time: Aug-14-2019