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By Gerianne Wright
From buildings to traffic patterns, parking lots to the pond, the SUNY Plattsburgh landscape has been repainted with a very wide brush.
Rick Larche, capital project manager at SUNY Plattsburgh, said that although many of the improvements may not be visible to the eye, they were significant and improve the quality of life on campus.
“Among the most noticeable projects that started in May is work around Hawkins Hall,” Larche said. Hawkins was surrounded by fencing throughout most of the summer as crews installed water, sanitary and storm lines in trenches dug around the perimeter. Although the pine trees that dotted the north side of the property had to be removed for the pipes to be installed, maple trees will be planted in their place later in the fall. Access to Hawkins and Ward halls has been opened on the west, north and east sides while the south side, which includes the pond, will be offline as crews renovate the pond.
As part of the Hawkins renovation, a charging station for electric cars was installed in the north corner of the parking lot near the handicap-access door. According to Crystal Price, sustainability coordinator on campus, the project came about as the result of a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority grant and a SUNY Plattsburgh Campus Committee for Environmental Responsibility Green Grant.
Larche said the crew is “a little more than 50 percent complete” on the pond project, which will end up conserving water and allow the pond to be filled year-round. A waterfall, and new plants, trees and shrubs will be included in the project, slated to be back online in the summer of 2015.
Within Hawkins Hall, construction has been completed on the new Einstein Bros Bagels shop located in the space formerly held by the Hawkins Patio. The shop offers bagels by the dozen, deli bagel sandwiches, salads, fruit, beverages and other snacks.
Across the street at Redcay Hall, an additional off-campus student parking lot was created on the Brinkerhoff Street side of the building.
On the east side of campus, repair work on the Saranac River Trail has been completed. The trail needed repair of its subbase and paving after erosion by spring floods. With the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, plans are being formulated for a shoreline stabilization project for next summer which will help keep the river from cutting into its banks.
Rugar Street, meanwhile, has seen its share of reconfiguration and renovation this summer, with two raised crosswalks having been built to help both pedestrians and motorists become more aware of crosswalk activity on that busy thoroughfare, Larche said.
Mason Hall was taken offline this summer as part of the ongoing residence hall renovation project. It is slated to be finished in spring 2015. Moffitt Hall is slated to be taken offline next June, Larche said.
Staff and students both will benefit from the new rigging installed in Hartman Theatre in Myers Fine Arts Building, he said.
“It looks beautiful, with all new weights and trusses. It’s easier to work with and a much safer environment for theater staff and students.”
A reconfigured communications department is under construction in Yokum Lecture Hall. It will feature new editing spaces, a revised control area, “spruced-up studios and all new equipment, controls, cameras and screens,” Larche said. “Temporary studios are set up in the basement of Hawkins Hall while the permanent ones are being installed and slated to be operational for the spring 2015 semester.”
Projects on campus haven’t been limited to underground pipes or academic spaces. The turf on the soccer field at the Field House is being replaced with a newer, safer surface
“Turf life-expectancy is 10 to 12 years,” Larche said. “That turf is 10 years old, and this new material is more technologically advanced. It lasts longer, is safer, reduces injuries and creates better surfaces for player performance.” Larche said he hopes work will be wrapped up for game play at the end of September. In the meantime, teams are practicing at the Memorial Hall field and early season games as scheduled at Plattsburgh High School.
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