Crispell First in Line for Dorm Remodeling

Crispell Hall, which was built in the 1960s, will begin to be renovated in December and will be completed in August of next year.
Construction for Crispell Hall will begin in December and will be completed in August of next year.

Crispell Hall will be shutting its doors for upgrades this winter, forcing some residents to seek new housing.

According to Director of Facilities Design and Construction John McEnrue, a $12.5 million renovation for Crispell Hall will begin on Dec. 22. It will be the first of four Hasbrouck residence halls scheduled to undergo construction.

Changes to the hall will include improving the suite layout, replacing the heating and plumbing system and rewiring the building electrically, McEnrue said. Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and Architecture Plus, the consultants hired to design the projects, will also make updates to telecommunication lines to utilize wireless technology.

McEnrue said the construction should not hassle housing plans for Crispell residents who are currently in the process of choosing new dorms, however.

“Most of the students living in Crispell Hall this semester are either graduating in December, planning to move off campus in the spring or transferring,” he said. “The few occupants that do plan to live on campus next spring will be moving to other residence halls.”

According to Director of Residence Life Corinna Carracci, all students living in Crispell were informed before the start of the semester they would be required to relocate into other buildings.

Carracci said students should not face a shortage of housing options and will be able to transition to new dorms with ease.

“We usually have about 200-220 students who do not come back in the spring semester for various reasons,” she said. “This is our first year experiencing this type of renovation. I am confident that we will learn from it and adjust as needed to accommodate students and their needs.”

Students living together in Crispell may choose from open triples and doubles in other halls, Carracci said, but there are no guarantees roommates will remain living together.

According to John Shupe, assistant vice president for Facilities Management, upgrades to Crispell and other Hasbrouck complex dorms are a necessity for SUNY New Paltz because of major water leaks, bad plumbing, electrical capacity issues, exposed asbestos in the ceiling and poor ventilation.

“This is a really important and aggressive project from a scheduling prospective,” Shupe said. “The building will look completely different when completed including a new façade, metal peaked roof, larger bathrooms and better services for the students living and visiting the building.”

Because Crispell was completed in 1967, McEnrue said, the building’s utilities have needed constant repair, making an upgrade vital.

McEnrue said other additions planned for Crispell include a new sprinkler system throughout the hall, new facility upgrades better suited for residents with disabilities, new flooring, refinished walls and ceilings, a redesigned pitched roof and a “refreshingly new” student lounge and lobby.

According to Jennifer Jerussi, a resident assistant (RA) of Crispell, even though the building will be closing for the spring, her RA duties and compensation will not change.

“Myself as well as the rest of my staff have been placed in RA openings around campus,” she said. “I will be in Bouton next semester, but I will be returning to Crispell in the fall.”

Jerussi said she was made aware of the incoming construction when she was hired in the fall, and has been planning for the move ever since.

She said she is excited for the new renovations and was not upset to learn she would have to work in a new hall for a semester.

“I think it is great that [the administration] is trying to update the campus,” she said. “I think the remodel of Crispell is exciting and it will be awesome to get to go back next fall and live in a brand new building.”

Crispell RA Christine Retta said hearing about the planned construction left her feeling worried about her future.

After becoming aware of the renovations through bulletins on the SUNY New Paltz website before she became an RA, she said it was crucial to find out what her options were.

“I was extremely upset when I heard about the construction,” she said. “I’ve lived in Crispell for the past two years and it’s the only home I’ve known in New Paltz, so the idea of moving out kind of depressed me.”

Retta said she is now no longer apprehensive about leaving Crispell and looks forward to working with a new group of people when she transfers to another building. She will still keep her job as an RA and will continue to earn the position’s benefits.

According to Shupe, work on Crispell will end by August 2011 and the next renovations are planned for Deyo Hall in 2013. He said the three remaining Hasbrouck halls are scheduled to follow each year after that.

In order to better accommodate students who want to live on campus, Shupe said the construction of a new residence hall is scheduled for 2012.

Shupe said break periods are planned between each construction because residence hall projects receive no state support and contractors will be working two shifts.

“The operation, maintenance and renovation costs are fully funded by student housing fees,” he said. “We would like to renovate quicker, but that would increase student housing fees too much.”

For those wanting to learn more about the construction and remodeling of Crispell and other Hasbrouck halls, an hour-long presentation is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6 at 12:15 p.m. in the Lecture Center.