Construction continues as college struggles to communicate with students

The Geneseo administration has faced difficulties in conveying the details surrounding the campus-wide construction project to the campus community. 

Most of the construction is centered in Sturges Quad, where the underground electrical, water, steam, storm and sanitary sewer systems are being replaced, according to Associate Director of Facilities Planning and Construction David Norton. Although the project began in the spring, some students were still surprised at the extent to which it has changed the campus’ landscape. 

“I personally think that people can look at the drawings or the mapping that we’ve done,” Norton said. “But when they get out there and see the fences and the areas that are closed off, it’s real.”

Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Gail Glover believes the college had operated with a varied communication strategy to notify campus members about the construction.

“Throughout the process, Norton was sending communications out to the campus community in various capacities about what was happening and when it was happening,” Glover said. “We wrote and posted online, The Lamron wrote a story online and we made the orientation staff aware of what was going on, so during orientation there was some communication going on for first years.”

Additionally, Student Life staff, campus tour guides, parents planning to visit for parents’ weekend and people taking part in the summer Access Opportunity Programs were informed by the college as well, according to Glover. By the end of the second week of classes on Sept. 7, the Communications and Marketing Department formally informed the rest of the campus about the construction via email. 

Despite these attempts at communicating the construction plans, Glover admitted that the college often faces difficulties when attempting to reach students. 

“One of the concerns that I always have with email is that I know students get so much,” Glover said. “They are trying to take it all in and see which pieces apply to them and sometimes things do get lost in the shuffle. We always want to make sure that we’re including the students in everything that goes on. Especially something of this length of time and this magnitude.”

 Beyond digital communication, the college recently began to add more signs and maps in areas that receive greater student traffic. Throughout the buildings surrounding Sturges Quad, some signs direct by-passers to the connecting buildings. A portion of the fencing near Milne Library features a sign showcasing the design and contracting teams.

While most of the construction will continue throughout the year, the South Hall Quad will open by Oct. 1, according to Norton. Similarly, the Department of Facilities Services removed the fence surrounding the College Green on Tuesday Sept. 19 following the completion of a project to install new sod. 

“Within the next three to four months, we are actually replacing the electrical guts of buildings,” Norton said. “So that means we’re going to have power outages that students hopefully will not ever see because we will have them in the middle of the night. The building will not be powered by normal power, it will be actually powered by generators." 

The college has hired a new director of facilities planning and construction, Michael Neiderbach, former Alfred State University executive director of capital operations, who will lead this project.

Norton believes that despite the inconvenience the construction causes for the campus community, the project will provide necessary improvements. 

“The good thing is,” Norton said, “we’re hitting it all now, so going down the road, we should not have to touch these areas for another 30-50 years.”u

Geneseo’s project to renovate the steam, water and electric infrastructure on campus progresses while the administration manages the communication ofthese changes to the campus. To relay information, the college uses physical signs, email and other techniques. (Ash Dean/Staff Photographer

Geneseo’s project to renovate the steam, water and electric infrastructure on campus progresses while the administration manages the communication ofthese changes to the campus. To relay information, the college uses physical signs, email and other techniques. (Ash Dean/Staff Photographer