Construction update: Chenango Room/Central quadTweet
This is the third in a series of articles about major construction projects already underway or about to begin on campus.
Chenango Room/central campus quad
One might expect summer to be a slow time on a college campus – at least slower than during the academic year – but Binghamton University will be a hotbed of activity after Commencement ceremonies are over, and the renovation of the Chenango Room and the central quad area between the Fine Arts Building and Science 1 will be part of it all.
The plan is complicated because the work is actually two projects to be done at the same time, said Lawrence Roma, associate vice president for facilities management. Phase 1 of the central quad work is expected to be completed by October 2011, depending upon weather, with Phase 2 scheduled for summer 2012, but the Chenango Room will close immediately after Commencement and remain closed until August 2012. “The complication is to do both at the same time and provide safe, effective contractor access,” he said. “That’s really how we defined Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project.”
Also paramount to getting everything done, and done well, is constructability, said Roma. “I asked my staff to review all of the documents for these projects as they relate to the quality of work and life on this campus,” he said. “That’s constructability.”
The Chenango Room’s renovation will see a new kitchen in a different location, relocation of meeting rooms, additional windows overlooking the transformed central quad area and the addition of an Einstein’s Bros. Bagels operation with a small seating area, said Paul Kerns, general manager of Sodexo Campus Services. There will be minimal seating for Einstein’s, he said, because about 75 percent of Einstein’s traffic is expected to be “to go.”
When completed, the Chenango Room’s kitchen will be new and there will be made-to-order stations, a salad bar, a hot line and the buffet, said Kerns.
“We won’t lose any seats, but we’ll have a few booths, some banquette seating and some outdoor seating.
“This is an underserved side of campus,” Kerns added. “We hope to establish a stronger base for food service at the Chenango Room before the Susquehanna Room has to close for renovations in 2012. Einstein’s can become a beacon for that part of campus.”
The dining program on a campus is a major part of a student’s quality of life, Kerns said. “We want to celebrate student life and provide students with options so when they look back on their college experience, they say ‘Wow!’”
“Having more food options at that end of campus is important,” said James Van Voorst, vice president for administration, “even as we protect the long-standing opportunity for sitting down for a meal in a great location. This renovation meets those needs.
“We’ve partnered well with Sodexo, just as with the Jazzman’s renovation in the Library Tower,” Van Voorst said. “The work we did for them there and for that corridor has made that a gathering place. We’re hopeful to have the same result for the Chenango Room in a central part of campus that is now heavily blacktopped and lacking pizzazz.”
Central campus quad
“This is a critical maintenance project to replace and improve drainage, traffic flow and the aesthetics of the quad,” said Van Voorst. “It’s important to maintain and replace the underground infrastructure and the core of this project will do that as we complete the last piece of the campus core facelift.”
The current quad is criss-crossed by asphalt walkways – a throwback to a trend from the 1980s, said Roma. “The space was originally developed without sidewalks, and wherever people walked is where we put sidewalks,” he said. “An architect actually went to the top of the Library Tower and sketched where the dirt paths were and that became the basis for the blacktop walkways. That’s how the spider web of walkways evolved.”
Research into traffic patterns has been taken into account in the new design for the quad area. Plans call for a colonnade of trees along a walkway that connects with the Lois B. DeFleur Walkway in front of the Library Tower and extends into the quad. The quad walkway will include an infinity fountain, and the current fountain in front of the Library Tower will be removed. “We’re moving the Pegasus sculpture there,” said Van Voorst. “It puts it in a more prominent location to maintain its history, and the new quad elements and its new location will help create a more welcoming gathering place like we’ve seen with other areas of campus.”
The contractor that completed the Lois B. DeFleur Walkway is also doing the central quad work, said Roma, tying into the current “spine” of the campus. Paved walkways will be installed, along with trees, but leaving enough open spaces for spontaneous student activities like Frisbee, as well as larger student events such as Spring Fling.
The quad renovation will be completed over two years and has been structured in phases to minimize disruption, said Van Voorst. “Although we expect some disruption, pains are being taken to minimize it as much as we can,” he said. “The relatively short term disruptions are far outweighed by the benefits the campus gets for this work.”
For additional information, photos, renderings and updates on these and other summer 2011 construction projects, visit http://www2.binghamton.edu/physical-facilities/summer_construction.html.