Paige Welch, Staff Writer
Since the construction of the upgraded Red Dragon Outfitters began in the spring of 2016, SUNY Oneonta students have expressed multiple curiosities about how the project will improve the campus, as well as their overall experiences as currently enrolled students. Then, in the fall of 2016, the ground breaking of a new Welcome Center structure was announced. The building process began in the spring of 2017, and with it came the disgruntled voices of students who are not aware of the purposes or funding of these two projects.
The President of SUNY Oneonta, Nancy Kleniewski, hosts a weekly coffee hour in Fitzelle Hall to give students and faculty the opportunity to engage in dialogue revolving around the college. On January 16, The State Times was present in order to conduct a casual interview based on commonly asked student questions concerning the on-going construction. First on the table was a conversation about parking. The lot that had to be torn down at the start of the Welcome Center construction was filled with designated faculty and staff spots. President Kleniewski made a point in reminding commuters and other students of the recently added parking by the Alumni Field House and towards the freshmen residence halls. The commuters need not to worry, no parking will be taken from them.
Another commonly heard question around campus is: “When will all of this construction be done?” Enjoying campus to its full capacity is difficult when there is a constant sound of jackhammers and construction vehicles moving around. But thankfully, President Kleniewski stated that the Red Dragon Outfitters will be completed and in use by fall of 2017. Meanwhile, the Welcome Center will be completed in 2018, so incoming students will have the opportunity to enjoy both buildings for most of their college careers.
Perhaps the most negative of views towards the current construction comes from the students that believe that these projects are not a good use of their tuitions. However, the funding for on-campus construction comes from the state. In fact, state funding cannot be used for any other college maintenance or payments other than construction and renovations. Tuition, Alumni donations, etc. is used for funding the various services available to students, scholarship funds, and utility bills, among other things. SUNY Oneonta students should not have to worry in this case about where there money is going of how it is being used. The administration is very positive about the functionality of these two new structures. The Outfitters will provide a new space for all of the offices inside of Hunt Union. When these offices are moved to the interior of the new building, there will be room in Hunt for more “student spaces.” Certain services that are hidden in Alumni Hall will be moved into the new building as well, making them more accessible to students.
The final thing most students want to know is: “what’s next?” If someone is looking to become more involved in the future plans of the campus, there is a document titled “Facilities Master Plan” that can be found online. This outlines the improvements that are scheduled to happen sometime in the future. In store is another library renovation and revamp of West Dormitory Road, which should decrease the amount of traffic in front of the Mills bus stop. There is also a plan to make the campus more pedestrian friendly by increasing the aesthetic appeal of some of the roads that travel through campus. The campus will be constantly changing, but administration insists that it is all to benefit current and future SUNY Oneonta students.
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