Construction projects mark big changes

With the conclusion of the first week of classes, both new and returning students witnessed substantial construction campus-wide. The renovations, which began over the summer, will cost nearly $30 million according to college officials.

Projects conducted over the summer included continuing renovations of Erie Hall, replacement of roofs for Genesee and Allegany Residence Halls and Letchworth Dining Hall, major improvements to Putnam Quad, window replacement in Welles Hall, and the prominent redevelopment of the Union Plaza.

Despite the seemingly omnipresent construction, other plans have been drafted for a new stadium to be located on the side of the Holcomb building. In addition, according to Jeffrey Kaplan, director of Facilities Planning & Construction, the renovation of Greene Hall and the construction of Seneca, a new residence hall, will both begin later in the Fall semester.

Renovations of Bailey Hall are currently under way in order to improve the chemistry and physics labs for students' use, while Greene Hall is closed for renovations for the next two years.

The stadium to be situated near Holcomb is currently in its preliminary design process. According to Kaplan, an estimate of the total project cost is about $13.5 million. It is still unknown when construction will begin on the new stadium.

Most noticeably, the Union Plaza landscaping project, which costs approximately $1.2 million, is set to reach from the main doors of the Union to Mary Jemison Dining Hall, linking the two buildings.

This project will continue to make the Union inaccessible to students through its main doors until the project is complete. Students are advised that doors on both the lower and upper levels remain accessible.

According to Charles "Chip" Matthews, director of the College Union and Activities, fundamental completion of the Union Plaza should be done by November; subsequent land-scaping will be completed during the Spring semester.

Matthews said that the inaccessibility of the main Union doors has not negatively affected the traffic flow in and out of the Union. He said that there have been "about 38,000 hits on the lower and upper doors during the first week alone," while there were only "about 22,000 during the last week of April 2007."

In addition, Matthews said that the construction of the Union Plaza has encouraged Union activities, such as the Week of Welcome events, to branch out to the South and North Villages.

Matthews said he's satisfied with the construction so far and has high expectations for its completion. He encouraged students to be patient with the ongoing construction. "The completion of the Plaza will create clearer sight lines of the valley as well as giving students both a comfortable and attractive place to eat and socialize," he said. "With Geneseo becoming a premiere school, its facilities also need to create such an effect."

The outcome of the Union Plaza project is designed to improve outdoor student and faculty space. According to the Facilities Planning Web site, the main goals include "study pods and seating alternatives, linking of the Union to the MJ Dining Hall, reduced stairways, improved lighting and [access for disabled people]."

More information on the construction projects can be found on the Facilities Planning and Construction Web site at