First steps of Holcomb gutting underway

Geneseo's Facilities, Planning and Construction department is moving forward with plans to tear down the Holcomb building in preparation for the construction of a new outdoor athletic stadium.

"We have the building until May 2011," said Linda Ware, an associate education professor who regularly uses Holcomb to teach classes.

"Our plan is for construction on the stadium to begin in late 2011," said George Stooks, assistant vice president of facilities and planning. Because the stadium will utilize land on which Holcomb currently stands, the structure will have to be torn down by the time construction begins. Within the past several weeks, crews have removed furniture and fixtures from the building.

The timeline for Holcomb's demolition is directly tied to current renovation plans for Doty Hall. The Developmental Disabilities Services Office, an agency independent of the college, uses Doty for its operations. During phase I of the Doty renovations, the DDSO will relocate to Holcomb. "Phase I of the Doty renovation must be completed before Holcomb gets torn down," Stooks said.

The stadium is projected to be complete by January 2013. The stadium, which will house athletic events as well as commencement ceremonies, will feature two artificial turf fields on either side of a central structure and will be supported by extra stadium parking and updated traffic controls on College Drive.

Classes, clubs and other organizations, including the Livingston County Better Business Bureau and Kidstar, are still using the Holcomb building. Some users said they have wondered how relocation of these constituents will be handled. "The Kidstart people are going to have to leave and that should be concerning for some people," Ware said.

"We are working with the current occupants of Holcomb as much as possible to extend contracts or, as space allows on campus, to accommodate them and still keep the projects on schedule," Stooks said.

Stooks said that his department is working on "clearing out surplus materials and preparing space to move the DDSO from Doty to Holcomb." Ware and others have voiced frustration with how the process is being handled, as crews are literally tossing otherwise usable desks and furniture out the window into dumpsters where the equipment is ruined.

"Outrageous amounts of desks, slate, books and many, many recyclables are being put out on the side of the road as garbage," said junior Lauren Kirchhausen. "This is particularly disturbing as Geneseo just held its [Live] Green Expo last week - a contradiction if I've ever heard one."

"I have students that want to go dumpster diving," Ware said. "We are living in a time when recycling and the environment are critical issues and my students and I listen to this and pretend that we don't hear it … can't we see if anyone else can use this stuff?"

"State agencies cannot sell or donate state assets," said Rebecca Anchor, director of purchasing and central services at the college, in an e-mail. "Thus, the college strives to either trade in old equipment towards new, or to transfer it to another state agency or recycle."

"That [policy] is embarrassing," Ware said. "There's nothing completely unusable in that dumpster."

"Items disposed of from Holcomb in the recent weeks were recycled where possible and in some cases 'up-cycled,' meaning they were reused," Stooks said. "Items that were of mixed material content [such as desks, comprised of multiple materials], thus not readily recyclable without being separated [into more basic components] were disposed of. To the casual observer, the amount that was diverted from the waste stream through recycling or reuse would not be readily apparent."

Ware said that she was dissatisfied with the explanation. "We could at least put a sign on the road that says 'free,'" rather than simply throw the materials in the garbage, she said.

The demolition of Holcomb, renovation of Doty and construction of the athletic stadium are all funded by a capital budget that is completely separate from the operating budget that has been severely constrained as a result of cuts in New York State aid. Funds from the capital budget cannot be diverted to the operating budget.