Michelle Barbero, Staff Writer |
Two new buildings are being welcomed to the SUNY Oneonta campus this year: the Student Welcome Center and the Oneonta Auxiliary Services building. Although it may seem as if both these buildings appeared on campus around the same time, there were two completely different construction projects. The planning for each building had its own timeline.
Scott Barton, the Campus Architect and Facilities Program Coordinator, explains that the idea for the creation of the Student Welcome Center began with a desire to give admissions a higher profile. Admissions departments are very competitive among universities, so it is important that SUNY Oneonta had a unique place for potential students and families to form positive impressions of the school. Around 2009, a firm produced architectural sketches. About a year later, a master plan was adopted.
According to Barton, Dr. Kleniewski was excited for this project as it was going to be executed during the last years of her presidency. There were also plans being formed to turn Alumni Hall into the School of Economics and Business. Construction of new buildings would help with this transition because it would move occupants of Alumni Hall to other locations.
In the winter of 2014, there were enough funds to hire an architect. Construction started Fall 2016 and the Student Welcome Center is expected to wrap up this academic year.
“After nearly 10 years of planning, the project was a quick build. It was a very efficient process,” said Barton.
There a lot of interesting features that will benefit students academically and socially in this new structure. Some features include a space called “the lantern,” which features a large window that overlooks the campus. At night, the use of dramatic lights will make the building appear as if it is glowing. There will be a lounge, a room for presentations, and the building will serve as a venue for moderate sized entertainment events. In addition, there will be a patio that will be used during the Pass Through The Pillars ceremonies.
Barton says the Student Welcome Center will be “the crown jewel on top of the hill.”
The new Oneonta Auxiliary Services building is equally impressive. This construction project was planned with the goal of making a building devoted to retail to create free space in the Hunt College Union. The project was started in 2013 and finished in summer of 2017. The building is now officially in use. Here, students have access to Red Dragon Outfitters and the Damascene Book Cellar. There is also a roof garden on the second floor.
Barton shares that “OAS was a willing participant and terrific client.”
Now, there is a temporarily vacant area in the Hunt College Union where the old Red Dragon Outfitters used to be. There, students are free to work on homework and socialize. In addition, when the Bugbee Children’s Center daycare operation is effected by on campus projects, the occupants will temporarily be moved to the Hunt College Union.
Additionally, student centric services such as the Career Development Center, the Center for Social Responsibility, and the Sustainability Coordinator will be moved into the Hunt College Union. WONY and International Education will be moving into the building.
In addition to these two buildings, there is also construction currently taking place in the James M. Milne Library. The 1st floor of the library will be completed over the winter break and will be ready for use when students return to campus. The Accessibility Resource Office will be on the first floor. The second floor will be worked on during the Fall 2018 semester and will include the CADE tutoring center. Finally, the third floor will be under construction in the Fall 2018 semester.
These two new buildings will benefit students and faculty alike. The structures provide more study room as well as smartly organized service spaces.