Various construction projects are underway on the SUNY New Paltz campus, leaving some students feeling inconvenienced as the campus undergoes the latest phases of “The Facilities Master Plan.”
Current construction developments on the Hasbrouck Quad, the completion of the interior of Crispell Hall and Old Main Building and the renovation of the Concourse by the Lecture Center and Humanities Building has left much of campus covered in fences and bulldozers with an aim for creating a better, more vibrant, campus in the future.
“These projects will offer students vastly improved academic and residential facilities, complete with the latest in wireless technology and media as well as modern comforts expected in suite-styled residence hall spaces, respectively,” Director of Facilities Design and Construction John McEnrue said. “The exterior landscape improvements will offer students greater pedestrian and disabled access throughout the campus while improving safety by installing better lighting and reducing vehicular access.”
The most eye-catching construction is the redesign and renovation of the Hasbrouck Quad – which in addition to the renovation of Crispell Hall, currently is undergoing a regarded terrain projects, a repaving of walkways and improvements to the gunk’s perimeters. Also, new lighting is being installed throughout the quad, McEnrue said.
“It’s impossible not to notice the landscape work performed on the Hasbrouck Quad,” McEnrue said. “Our primary goals with these two landscape projects, as well as future projects, are to make SUNY New Paltz a more pedestrian-friendly campus.”
Despite the intentions of a beautified university grounds, construction has led to some students feeling upset over the state of the campus landscape.
Jessica Sedgley, a second-year communication disorders major currently living in Dubois Hall, said while the construction in the quad hasn’t woken her up the lights and pathways have been difficult to adjust to.
“When it rains there’s flooding on the paths to class and I need to step in the puddles and they are all muddy,” Sedgley said. “It’s also sad seeing all the ducks walk around with the fences up, because they don’t look happy. Basically, it doesn’t look pretty on campus. If I was a freshmen or someone looking to come here it’d be a turn off.”
McEnrue said he understands students’ complaints about noise and New Paltz is acting to be sensitive to those concerns.
“When planning our project timelines we scheduled the noisy work this summer so as not to disrupt the academic calendar,” he said. “Contractors customarily start work at 6:30 a.m. but, with the start of the new semester, we now insist on noisy work beginning no earlier than 8:00 a.m. Most of the student walkways were restored prior to classes commencing.”
McEnrue said the second phase of the Hasbrouck Quad construction will continue through the spring semester and summer.
Other projects, such as the completion of Old Main have received a warmer welcome from students.
Old Main, which has been under construction since 2008 and cost approximately $27 million to complete, features a new roof, upgraded electrical and heating systems and now has central air conditioning, McEnrue said.
McEnrue said the plans paid special attention to bringing back historically appropriate detailing from the original 1907 building. Some of these included the restoration of chair rails, crown molding, wood floors and “appropriate period pendant lighting” in common areas.
Also upgraded during the renovation were the telecommunications, media and wireless systems.
Beverly Schrieiber, a third-year English major, was happy with her first view of the building after its reopening.
“The building is beautiful,” Schrieiber said. “The classrooms look like Van den Berg and the chairs have wheels on them so they’re easy to move around for group work.”
In addition to the new renovations, Old Main will be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified project on campus, according to newpaltz.edu.
McEnrue said the construction to the top two floors of Old Main’s south wing and Studley Theater will be finished and available for students by January 2012.
Over the summer, McEnrue said the Concourse connecting the campus to the Lecture Center and Humanities Building was redesigned and repaved. Among the changes made was the replacing of the large concrete seating and introducing smaller Champlain stone seating across the Concourse – something he said the reaction has been “overwhelmingly positive” toward.
While there are currently patches of the Concourse without trees, McEnrue said honey locust trees will soon be planted there and the project should be finished by November.
“Within a matter of weeks [the trees] will eventually canopy the concourse creating a beautifully shaded alley in what is the most densely populated thoroughfare on campus,” McEnrue said.
For more information regarding the continued construction on campus visit newpaltz.edu/construction.