Geneseo is currently undergoing construction to repair electric and steam infrastructure lines throughout campus. As the entire project will last until fall 2018, the campus community is attempting to adapt to these circumstances.
The main component of construction is centered around Sturges Quad, according to Associate Director of Facilities Planning and Construction David Norton. Norton indicated that the work is meant to maintain electric, heating and steam lines that range in age from 60 to 80 years.
Construction in Sturges Quad will continue until approximately Aug. 17, 2018, leaving the entire quad closed for almost another year, Norton said.
“The real reasoning for this project is because we have very poor conditions for underground electric infrastructure,” he said. “If the electric fails, we could lose many buildings on campus with power, which certainly would not be a good thing for a fully occupied campus.”
Along with the threat of losing electricity, the steam lines need to be repaired as well, according to Norton; leaving them unmaintained could cause the campus to lose heat, which would be disastrous in the winter.
Accounting major senior Connor Phares said that this construction will put a damper on his final year at Geneseo.
“All this construction just makes me feel annoyed,” he said. “It makes it difficult to get anywhere and blocks most of the shortcuts. I hate it.”
Biology major freshman Kiersten Coates also observed how much the construction increases the length of her commute to campus.
“The closest dining hall right now is MJ and MJ is really far away, so that takes a lot of time out of my day,” she said. “At first it was kind of weird … because you have to go around everything to get anywhere, but I kind of got used to it. I’m not used to anything else, because I just moved here and I’ve just had to deal with it.”
Director of Student Life Charles Matthews contends that while students don’t like the construction, the school will benefit from it in the long run.
“It may be a little bit inconvenient for students right now, but if we’re trying to provide the best that we can for students continually, we’ve always got to be upgrading,” Matthews said.
The administration will place more signs to help students find their way to class amidst the construction that has Sturges Quad closed, according to Matthews. Along with the signs to help students living on South Side get to Letchworth Dining Hall, Campus Auxiliary Services is running shuttles from South Side to the dining hall while Red Jacket is under construction, which Matthews believes students underutilize.
Besides access to buildings on campus, the construction will also restrict students’ ability to paint the Greek Tree. Matthews is trying to temporarily replace the tree with a seven-ton boulder that campus groups can paint instead.
“I think it would be great to offer something inanimate that could be painted and would not affect its lifecycle in the interim,” Matthews said. “It’s something that I would like to execute so that people have an outlet.”
The construction will likely cause more issues for certain groups of students than for others, Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Community Leonard Sancilio said.
“I think it is going to be a challenge for people with injuries,” Sancilio said. “Geneseo is tough at the best of times to navigate on crutches. Coming from South Side, you don’t have a straight shot anymore; you have to go either up or down.”
Some students on crutches have the option to use a scooter from the health center, but the only two scooters are currently checked out, according to Sancilio.
Sancilio concluded that students are going to have to work with each other for the next year to manage navigation throughout the rest of the construction.
“We’re counting on people to help each other out with carrying books, meals and schedules,” Sancilio said. “There’s no ideal [answer] for any of this.”
Staff Writer Erik Buckingham contributed reporting to this article.u