Barbara Chernow, Vice President of Facilities and Services, held a round table discussion in order to describe new plans for construction, parking, renovations, and green projects.
In order to show students exactly what they’ve done to make the campus environmentally friendly, facilities has the created a ‘Green Map’. All 47 of the eco-innovations on campus can be seen and described on the map. They hope to upload video to the map in the future in order to better explain the technology and garner more support for the measure.
While other revenue streams for the university are growing thin, long term investments in construction bonds mean that repairs and new developments will continue to be funded. Chernow has targeted older buildings for renovations
Out-dated and leaky steam pipelines that have malfunctioned in the past and deprived resident students of heat prime targets for these repairs. Not only are the repairs necessary, they will also save the university 10% on heating.
Besides saving money, Chernow is also doing her best to save lives. The North Entrance, which many drivers consider to be dangerous, will soon improved. Traffic engineers responsible for the traffic circles on campus have been called in to evaluate the situation in order to make it more driver-friendly. A few trees in the area, which have been marked with paint, will likely be removed.
The basketball arena, which is currently being renovated, is one project which isn’t running smoothly. Operations are currently at a stand-still as the university waits for more of the money allocated for the project to be released.
The Student Union will go through a ‘gut rehab’ sometime in the near future. For those wondering what that means, the Old Chem building may be a good reference point. It has already been emptied so it can be renovated and expanded, beginning next semester. The closing of the Union will be made possible by the opening of the new recreational center next door.
Besides the Rec Center, which is undergoing a brief hiatus in construction, facilities is awaiting the construction of a new energy center in the R&D park. Dorms in the M&H quads will be built as well, but not in the immediate future.
This doesn’t mean that the 2700 student cap on incoming freshman will be lifted. According to Chernow, the new dorms are to reduce the amount of students who are tripling right now.
Not all of the funds are being spent on the main campus. A Marine Science Center will begin construction in Southampton and will be completed in 2013. While it may sound like this is good news for marine science majors, they may see it differently. For them, this means they’ll have to endure the hour long bus to Southampton for the foreseeable future.
Former President Shirley-Kenny’s initiative to have all new buildings on campus LEED certified is still in effect, which means that the Energy and Recreational centers with both be environmentally friendly.
These same concerns have influenced decisions on future parking plans, which will include the construction of more parking garages. While each parking space in a garage can cost up to ten times more than one in a traditional lot, Chernow felt that environmental and spacial issues outweighed the cost concerns.
Not everything is looking up for facilities though. Their plan to expand the SAC was rejected, and the cost of building and maintaining new parking garages will mean that more people will have to pay for parking on campus.
Also, due to the current state of the economy, facilities has had to make some cuts. Janitorial and mechanical services have been reduced. Office trash collection has been reduced, but bathroom and other public garbages will still be emptied regularly. University Police will not face budget cuts. “We had to make non-essential cuts,” Chernow explained “The safety of our students is not one of them.”