As anyone who’s been on campus this semester knows, numerous construction projects are underway at SUNY New Paltz. New buildings, renovations and infrastructural upgrades, in various stages of progression, are on schedule, with some tracked for completion before the end of the year.
“We have a Facilities Master Plan for the entire campus, and our staff is working hard to make that plan a reality,” said John Shupe, assistant vice president of Facilities Management.
Construction of the newest SUNY New Paltz residence hall is in its final phases. Ridgeview Hall, located on the southwest end of campus between the Athletic and Wellness Center and Lenape and Esopus Halls, is expected to open its doors to 225 student residents this August for the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year. John McEnrue, director of Facilities Design and Construction, believes it will be the most modern campus housing facility on campus, with an unparalleled view of the iconic Shawangunk Ridge.
Ridgeview Hall will also house a new café. “Having this new dining facility available at the southwest end of campus will be really convenient for the students who live in Lenape, Esopus and even Gage halls,” Shupe said.
The complete renovation and redesign of the Wooster Building is in the construction phase. Site work and landscaping the surrounding area will begin as the weather warms this spring, and interior finishing is nearing completion.
Once construction is completed facilities staff will begin the scheduled relocation of student services, including Academic Advising, Student Accounts, Financial Aid and Records & Registration, to this central location. The Wooster Building will also feature a new café and a student lounge. “This project completely transforms Wooster into campus showpiece and provides important and long overdue amenities for students, faculty and staff,” Shupe said. He expects the building to open on schedule for the spring ‘16 semester.
Steel erection has been completed at the new science building, and the crane some campus residents might have noticed during winter break has been removed from the site. Welding is underway and roofing will begin this spring. Interior work will begin next winter once the structure is fully enclosed. This project is on track to meet its forecasted completion date of early 2017.
The renovation of the Service Building will provide a number of campus offices, including University Police (UPD), Custodial, Facilities Management and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) with better spaces that are more appropriate to fit their needs.
Shupe describes the current UPD building as small and outdated, and so a larger space adjacent to the Service Building will be remodeled to better accommodate the department. EHS will move into separate offices in that same building.
A renovation of the current UPD building will follow, and upon completion Facilities Management and Facilities Design & Construction will assume new office locations there.
A final phase will bring Facilities Operations & Maintenance and the Custodial staff into the area of the Service Building currently occupied by Facilities Design & Construction. The space in College Hall currently serving as temporary housing for Custodial will be repurposed to serve students’ needs.
This project necessarily includes some significant, temporary relocating of offices, but Facilities Management is working to make the transitions as painless as possible. “We’re lucky in the sense that we actually have ‘swing space’ on the campus,” McEnrue said in reference to the buildings and trailers available for short-term housing of campus units, as these allow ambitious and necessary renovations to take place without significant disruptions of day-to-day activities.
McEnrue expects University Police to be able to settle into their permanent new space during the fall ’15 semester, with the remaining work wrapping up in the first half of 2016.
Designed as a complement to the recently-completed Mohonk East pedestrian walkway, which runs from the Route 32 Transit Hub to the campus’s main academic concourse, Mohonk West will extend that route behind the Jacobsen Faculty Tower and down the hill to van den Berg Hall.
Goals of this project are to further integrate van den Berg Hall the rest of campus while also making passage to VH safer and more convenient for students. The steep incline of the hill just behind JFT makes it logistically impossible to replace the current stairway with a ramp, but construction of Mohonk West will widen all walkways and add ground heating beneath stairs and sidewalks, to reduce slippery surfaces and enable safe traversal.
Facilities Management is currently working on contracting development. Shupe and McEnrue expect construction to begin this semester, with the project scheduled to complete by the spring ’16 semester.
Sojourner Truth Library (STL)
The STL renovation has unfolded over multiple phases, from replacement of the roof to the relocation of staff offices. A total renovation of the main level of the library, is scheduled to be completed during the fall semester. Until that time library access will be restricted to the bottom two floors, with a main entrance on the Concourse level.
New features at the library will include an expanded view of the Shawangunk Ridge to the west of campus, increased natural lighting, technological upgrades and new and improved group study areas for students and faculty
Elting Gym/Athletics & Wellness Center
A renovation project to redesign and modernize the existing locker rooms supporting the Elting Gym and Athletic and Wellness Center is currently in the early stages of design. The project will also replace or install new sprinklers where necessary and upgrade the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the building.
McEnrue is optimistic that planned renovations will begin this summer and that work will be completed in early 2016.
Engineering Innovation Hub
Looking further into the future, Shupe and his staff are preparing for construction of the new Engineering Innovation Hub. The building will be next to Resnick Engineering Hall, and the two structures will be joined by a suspended, enclosed walkway, making it convenient for students and faculty to move between related labs, classrooms and offices in the two spaces.
Shupe, McEnrue and staff are currently evaluating design proposals from architectural firms in order to select one this spring. The plan is for the new building to open in early 2019.
Campus Perimeter Lighting
The College has received a grant to modernize perimeter lighting around campus. Facilities is currently in discussions with power companies to install LED fixtures, which will help to improve campus safety and sustainability by providing brighter and more focused lighting at a lower energy cost. This project is marked for a spring 2016 completion.
More information about SUNY New Paltz construction can be found at http://www.newpaltz.edu/construction/. A summary of the active Facilities Master Plan is available at http://www.newpaltz.edu/construction/FMP_exec_summary.pdf.