This semester, the Student Union’s Atrium (that big, fancy pyramid like structure between the Student Union and the Haggerty Administration Building) is finally open to the public and we could not be happier. Yes, you read that right. We like the Atrium.
Let’s get one thing straight before you start heehawing about our position: the Atrium was not paid for by State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. We repeat, it was NOT paid for by SUNY New Paltz. It was paid for by the SUNY construction fund and private donations. You may think that there was a better way to spend $13.4 million, but the reality is that it has already been spent. This was not a knee-jerk decision. The New Paltz administration had to propose their plans years ago. So, quit complaining that it shouldn’t have been built and examine the facts.
The Atrium provides SUNY New Paltz students with something that has been severely missing in the past: somewhere to hang out. Other SUNY schools, notably SUNY Purchase, have entire buildings dedicated to students and New Paltz never had that kind of space. Now we do. Sure it costs money to play pool, but at least now students have the option of playing pool
In addition to being a space for students, the opening of the Atrium has provided students with updated facilities. Don’t like the coffee at Jazzman’s? Try Seattle’s Best. In the mood for Mexican? They have that too. Need to use a computer to check your E-mail between classes but all the labs are full? You’re in luck.
We realize that SUNY New Paltz’s image overhaul has been a touchy subject recently. (We’re with you graphic design majors. You could definitely make a better logo.) But everyone needs to realize that it is a process. Yes, right now we have a weird pyramid-like building on our campus. But wouldn’t you rather that than another Wooster Science Building?
Let’s face it: the buildings on this campus are not winning any modern architecture awards. But the Atrium has! The design of the Atrium has received a 2009 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Metropolitan Arts Press. The Atrium is a modern addition to the campus that shows current and prospective students that New Paltz is always looking to the future.
Here at The New Paltz Oracle, we believe that the Atrium offers opportunity for students to form a greater connection with their campus by actually doing more than just sleeping and going to class there. It also represents a new direction for the administration as they attempt to update the look of the campus.
This is good. This is progress. An institution cannot remain stagnant – it must be in constant flux to be able to serve its students.