ON CAMPUS

How this summer’s construction aligned with Syracuse University’s Campus Framework plan

Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

Exterior renovations at Crouse College will continue into the fall semester.

This summer, multiple projects ranging from bathroom to classroom upgrades were completed as part of Syracuse University’s Campus Framework, a set of guiding principles for physical campus improvements.

“The Campus Framework speaks about where we want to go in the future and what are some opportunities that we’d like to take on or what makes the most sense,” said Pete Sala, SU’s vice president and chief facilities officer.

The Campus Framework, along with SU’s Academic Strategic Plan, helps “shape, guide and manage the Syracuse University campus environment and its physical form in support of the university’s mission,” according to the Campus Framework website.

The National Veterans Resource Complex will be the first large scale Campus Framework project to be completed, Sala said. The university is still working with architects to finalize the complex’s design and is in the early stages of the permitting process, he added.

Sala said utility work on Waverly Avenue was the largest project completed this summer. Water mains and sewer lines were replaced on the street.

Hundreds of construction workers were hired for various projects across SU’s campus, with 95 to 98 percent of them being local, Sala said.

Construction crews work on what will become sidewalk along Waverly Avenue as the sewer line replacement project starts to wind down. Parts of the street have been repaved in anticipation for reopening on August 18.
Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

Updates to restrooms in Haven, DellPlain and Day halls were completed this summer, Sala said. The university will replace all restrooms with “pod” style bathrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Our students call our campus home for nearly nine months a year so it’s important we offer them living quarters that make them feel at home and where they can thrive academically and socially,” said Eileen Simmons, director of Housing, Meal Plan and I.D. Card Services, in an email.

Simmons said the newly completed bathroom upgrades help to accomplish that goal, tying into the Campus Framework’s goal to “foster student success through a holistic residential experience.”

 

A student passes by DellPlain Hall, where work continues to upgrade the building's dorms before the fall semester starts.
Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

Some of the construction projects outlined in the Campus Framework have been controversial in the past, however.

Last year, the University Place promenade was the subject of controversy when members of the university community signed a petition against the project, citing a lack of transparency from university officials.

The University Place promenade was protested by faculty in a petition from 2016, saying “precious resources … are being spent on aesthetics with no discernable academic purpose.”

University officials don’t see updates to the promenade as only aesthetic upgrades, however.

Sarah Scalese, associate vice president of SU’s Division of Public Affairs, said projects like bench installation factor into the student experience by allowing students to sit in a nice area and talk.

Wooden benches atop granite blocks were installed along the walkway as the final stage of the promenade project, Sala said.

He said students were involved in determining the kind of seating to install on the promenade.

Hendricks Chapel’s front stairs are in the process of being replaced, one of few projects that was not completed this summer.

“Those were in disrepair, they were so bad,” Sala said.

The nearly 90-year-old limestone will be replaced by granite to preserve the historic look of the limestone but adding more strength, according to a press release. To bring the stairs up to code, Sala said, the university will install two stainless steel handrails 5 feet apart across the steps.

Sala said he predicts the project will be complete by the first week of October.

A student walks in front of Hendricks Chapel as work continues on replacing the building's steps. Work is expected to be completed the first week of October.

Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor

The university makes plans for major construction projects five to 10 years in advance, Sala said. He said the long planning time allows the university to coordinate with other departments and ensure smooth changes to campus.

“September is really when we get into what we’re going to take on next summer,” he said.

In determining what needs to be completed first, Sala explained that the university completed a facility condition assessment, which gave a good snapshot of building conditions across campus.

The amount of annual maintenance needed to keep buildings running determines the projects that are prioritized, Sala said.

Out of all the projects completed this summer, Sala said he was most proud of updating the classrooms in the Hall of Languages and Watson Theater.

“It’s the core of the campus. To me, it’s a very, very high priority thing. We take a lot of pride in putting a lot of care into those old buildings,” he said.

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