Due to ongoing projects to improve the college campus, construction workers are a constant presence at Geneseo. Though many students complain about the giant piles of dirt blocking their path to the Union, or about the sounds of cranes and trucks early in the morning, construction workers provide a valuable service for a minor inconvenience. Between shifts, several construction workers - who requested to be identified by first name only - offered a glimpse into their lives.
As terrible as an 8:30 a.m. class can feel, this time is well into the workday of a Geneseo construction worker. Because of their rigorous schedules, many wake up as early as 4:30 a.m. to reach their job sites on time. For David, a supervisor overseeing improvements on the Blake patio near Milne Library, even that early hour can seem late. "For a job in New York City, I had to wake up at midnight," he said.
"My job is to make things run as efficiently as possible and to build all of the equipment," David said. "I work to improve the way get things done - but isn't that like any job?" At the time, the crew was working to install pedestal pavers on the patio.
Many workers at the site had previously worked on projects around the college campus, including improvements to the Integrated Science Center. Dan, another worker at the site, said, "I've done a few things in Geneseo, but mostly I do work all around the country."
David, Dan and their fellow construction workers are part of Syrstone, Inc., a company which specializes in paving for Syracuse, but completes construction jobs all around the U.S. Their crew has completed jobs for such notable clients as Reba McIntyre, Gap Clothing and the University of Chicago.
"My favorite job," David said, "was working on Anton Plaza." The plaza is an aesthetic masterpiece at the Culinary Institute of America campus in Hyde Park, N.Y., complete with fountains that earned the company an award.
Many construction workers found their way into the business through family. "My cousin got me a job here, and that was 21 years ago," Dan said. David added, "My father worked here. I guess I like it - I'm still here, right?"
When asked if their construction skills carried over to home, some workers acknowledged that extensive travel takes away time to accomplish individual projects. "I've been working out of town for fifty years," David said. Dan said he, "usually [ends] up fixing some of the smaller stuff at home." After that's finished, he sleeps until sunrise and moves on to new jobs.