SU Construction Update
By Lilia Wood – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – While students were off-campus for summer break, The Division of Campus Facilities and Administrative Services was busy updating and renovating campus.
One of the biggest developments this summer was the National Veterans Resource Center that is expected to open in 2020. The NVRC is the only one of its kind in the country that will cater to both veterans as well as SU’s ROTC program, the longest standing ROTC program in the country.
The NRVC comes after a long history of SU supporting veterans. At the conclusion of World War II, the chancellor announced that anyone who wants to come back to get an education is welcomed.
The university Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer, Pete Sala, wanted to create a place where “a veteran can come back and all of his services can be in one place.” He also wanted to make this homebase for veterans as accessible as possible.
“You’ll be able to go through the entire building without every getting on an elevator or going up a flight of steps,” he said. “When people come in with needs, they can to where they need to like anybody else. We are very proud of it.”
This building will also host the largest lecture hall on campus that will seat 750 people with a capacity at a thousand.
Another construction project this summer resulted from students reaching out to Sala after he sent his monthly construction email in April. Students were annoyed that they had to either walk in the mud or in the streets to get through Walnut Park.
“We get feedback from that and one of the things students asked us for is why isn’t there sidewalks in Walnut Park?” Sala said.
The university does not own Walnut Park, but they have an agreement with the City of Syracuse to maintain it. Because there were already dirt paths in the park, SU was able to quickly get permits to put sidewalks where those dirt pathwalks were.
“My staff, we all love that project,” Sala said. “It completely changes that park.”
The new sidewalks will be plowed like every other sidewalk on campus when the snow starts.
Some residents of the newest apartment complex, The Marshall, moved in this weekend after weeks of construction delays. Some of the displaced students approached the Student Association saying they have had some troubles with being dislocated for almost a month.
Although it is off-campus housing, the Student Association reached out to Sala to see if they could assist the Marshall residents together. Sala and his team decided to donate dozens of move-in bins to help ease the process, and the Student Association helped out all throughout the move-in day.
“These students have already gone through a lot, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them today,” Kyle Rosenblum, the vice president of the Student Association, said. “These students have already gone through a lot, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them today.”
Construction on transforming Archbold Gymnasium into the Barnes Center at The Arch is still taking place. As with constructing with any old building, Sala said the biggest challenges is working with historic buildings that connect be knocked down.
“That building was built in the early 1900s and they built offices over an existing pool that was built as part of the building. We had to deal with that,” Sala said. “There’s mechanical systems that were associated with the pool which we didn’t know were there. Or we did know, but how do you handle getting them out?”
To accommodate students’ requests, the newest gym facilities will not only include fitness equipment and weights but also a multiple activity court for the winter months.
The Arch is still scheduled to open by next fall, so construction on the Schine Student Center can begin shortly after. Surveys have already been given out to see what type improvements students want to see in Schine.
“In all honesty, they are looking for casual gathering space, good quality gathering space, opening up that center,” Sala said. “More room for tabling, but a lot of it focused on a better atmosphere for that space.”