A Peak Beyond The Horizon

“Please pardon our appearance as we make improvements to our campus.”

That sign is in multiple locations around SUNY New Paltz. It is commonly posted on the side of a blue and orange tarp, wrapped around a chain-linked fence. It signifies that behind it, renovations are occurring on an already existing building or a new building is emerging literally from the ground up. Every renovation, every building and every project has a plan. Blueprints, budget, payroll, material list, completion dates; everything is predetermined so the project may run smoothly and be finished in time.

The Facilities Master Plan contains very detailed outlines of most intended, completed or in-progress plans after its publication in April 2008, such as the glass Atrium attached to the Student Union Building. The more specific details are not included, as they may change and are not needed at the preliminary stage of the Master Plan. Certain projects were conceived after the plans publication and are not part of the original – a copy of which can be found at newpaltz.edu/construction.

In this mini-series, The New Paltz Oracle will examine three areas of the plan: parking changes, overall budget and funding and campus construction, both current and planned. The Oracle will use information from the plan itself and speak with John Shupe, associate vice president of the facilities management department, John McEnrue, director of facilities design and construction, as well as others involved in the area of the plan being focused on. The Oracle is seeking relevant student and faculty input on the subjects of campus construction and parking. If you wish to provide input or information on either topic please email Sheidlon1@hawkmail.newpaltz.edu.

As said in the executive summary, the plan’s goal is to “reinforce the connection of the campus to this magnificent landscape, clarify the campus’ boundaries and relationship to both its urban and rural edges, restore and reconnect the existing open spaces on campus, develop the campus’ landscape to its full potential and enhance the sustainable attributes of the campus landscape.”

In other words, the plan is to have a beautiful, energy and resource-efficient campus.

“There is an unprecedented amount of construction on campus,” Shupe said. “And my staff is putting in tremendous effort to help make this a good place to study and learn.”

Although the original plan was laid out in three five-year plans, with hopes to be completed in 15 years, the actual length of time before all elements are completed is longer. Some projects – such as the new entrance off Route 32 that involves construction of a new building, expanding the Gunk and replacing the parking lot already there – have not yet been started and may not be before the original 15 years is up due to funding, time constraints and other factors, according to McEnrue. Other projects, like constructing a “boat house” on the banks of the Gunk, have been eliminated from the plan entirely.

The first article of this mini-series will be published in The New Paltz Oracle Volume 87, Issue 16 on Thursday, March 12.