President Donald P. Christian’s most recent presidential report suggests that Shango Hall may no longer be used to house students.
According to Christian, the building is not fit for 21st century needs and is “approaching the end of its functional lifespan.” Currently, there are no set plans for the future of Shango Hall, however, college administration is collaborating with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and the State University Construction Fund (SUCF), to look into alternative uses for the dormitory.
Shango Hall was built in 1951, which makes it SUNY New Paltz’s oldest residence hall. Shango also acted as the first college union on campus.
Christian claims that Shango Hall would operate better as an academic building for “academic-support purposes” rather than fulfilling its current function as a residence hall. The president report states “One viable option is to renovate and convert this space to critically needed academic space (likely in stages).” However, the transition into an academic space would require a significant amount of money, along with major capital funding from the SUCF.
“We don’t know what kind of academic space it would be at this stage” said College Spokesperson Chrissie Williams. “Partly because this is so far into the future and we have no funding for it at this time.”
Paige Blayne, second-year psychology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies major, is a current Shango resident and thinks that the building should remain a residence hall.
“I do believe it should still house students, it’s a really comfortable building, and it’s very homey” said Blayne. “I think it’s a nice, intimate living space.”
Former Shango resident Jillian Pugliese, second-year digital media production major, lived in Shango Hall this past 17-18 academic school year. Pugliese has enjoyed her past year living in Shango and said that she would have lived there again this year if she was not already living in a suite. “I really liked Shango, it was a really social hall where everyone knew each other. The rooms were a nice size and I had very minimal issues with it” Pugliese said. “I think Shango should still house students. It’s in a very convenient location, and is no worse than any of the other halls on campus.”
Pugliese and Blayne both agree that the biggest advantage of living in Shango Hall is the building’s location since it’s located close to all the academic buildings and Main Street.
To accommodate more students who live on campus, an additional floor with about 80 added residence hall beds will be added to Deyo and Dubois Halls.
These renovations are expected to begin with Deyo Hall in summer 2019 and are expected to completed fall 2020. The renovations in Dubois Hall are expected to start in summer 2021 and end in fall 2022.