Plans in action to fill empty rooms in Fraser, Sturges halls

Geneseo’s Facilities Planning & Construction will begin to finalize arrangements for the ongoing program study of Sturges Hall and Fraser Hall within the next few weeks, relocating certain departments into the open space and bringing a close to the yearlong project. The building departments have been empty since the renovation of Bailey Hall, when the ones in Sturges and Fraser were moved to new offices and classroom space.

Assistant vice president for facilities and planning and study coordinator George Stooks reported that there are seven different options that he is currently discussing with colleagues in facility planning and the project’s consulting firm Stieglitz-Snyder Architecture. The firm is in concert with the State University Construction Fund. Each option combines the needs of various departments vying for space and the one that meets the criteria and allocates space efficiently will ultimately be chosen and implemented.

“A program study looks at the needs of a campus as a whole and develops a baseline plan of how to use the space that is available,” Stooks said. “There is almost always more need than there is space.” The planning team’s goal is to take departments that might be fragmented across campus and bring them cohesively together through this project.

According to Stooks, the relocation of departments will be “phased in over time” and no official date for a hall reopening has been set. The process will not involve major renovations, however. Only minor repairs and adjustments will be made to the buildings regarding which departments occupy the spaces.

Major renovation has to be avoided due to a lack of capital funding from the state. Up until 2013, Geneseo had been operating under five year plans passed in the state budget, which allocated $550 million per year for the entire State University of New York system. The governor’s budget is now discussing a different five-year capital plan which allots only $200 million a year, a $350 million decrease caused by state spending caps and debt.

“It has had a huge impact on this program study of Sturges and Fraser,” Stooks said. “If we were still operating under a five-year capital plan, we would be taking a much different approach.”

This approach may have included taking steps as were done in Doty and Bailey Halls, yet the resources to do so were not available. This also leaves the planning team with little current ability to extend renovations and relocations to other structures on campus.

“As more capital becomes available, we will return to other elements of our master plan,” Stooks said. “I’m sure our newly elected president [Denise Battles] will be able to weigh in on these things once she begins her term.”

For now, Sturges and Fraser will remain the focus of Geneseo’s facilities planning.