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$35 million in construction underway at SUNY Cortland

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  • Concetta Durso 

Construction projects totaling more than $35 million are taking place across SUNY Cortland’s campus this summer, touching everything from academic buildings to residence halls and bringing improvements from wider sidewalks to brand-new outdoor signage.

In total, the university’s Facilities Planning, Design and Construction team is overseeing 36 projects in various phases on top of the upkeep and maintenance that usually takes place during the summer.

Some projects are highly visible, such as the second- and third-floor redesign of Miller Building, which houses many administrative offices, and the complete renovation of Smith Tower, a high-rise student residence located near Broadway Avenue. Other work, from roof repairs to elevator and boiler replacements, is smaller in scale but equally as important.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

“Summer is a very busy and rewarding time, especially this year,” said Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Zachariah Newswanger. “It’s exciting to see the physical construction taking place because many of these projects have been scheduled for several years.”

Multiple upgrades and renovations continue to be completed in phases, such as the campus-wide site lighting renovation. Several other projects have depended on years of research and planning.

Some of the most visible construction this summer includes:

  • Miller Building renovation: Work that began in August 2021 is expected to near completion for the Fall 2022 semester. The project will transform the building’s second and third floors, which are receiving their first major upgrade since the building opened in 1967. Several offices serving students and employees will return to renovated spaces, including Financial Aid, Human Resources and Student Registration and Record Services. When the project is completed, office locations will more closely align based on their services.
  • Smith Tower renovation: The 10-floor, 285-bed residence hall is set to reopen for the Fall 2022 semester after construction was paused temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project concludes a $32 million transformation of the university’s two tallest student residences, following neighboring high-rise Casey Tower’s renovation in Fall 2020. Suite, quad and corridor-style living will be available for new and returning students, and the improvements will be numerous: new kitchenettes, laundry facilities, bathrooms, lounges, ventilation and several energy-efficient enhancements, including LED lighting and new windows.
  • Campus-wide exterior signage: Everything from outdoor building markers to campus road signs to large directional guides at intersections will be replaced and refreshed this summer as part of an extensive analysis led by Corbin Design, a wayfinding design consultant. The new, durable signage will feature visual elements customized for the university, from subtle dragon scales to unique road signs. Eventually, interior building signage will be updated to reflect the new look in the recently renovated Moffett Center.
  • Campus-wide site lighting: This three-phase project is nearing completion, bringing 467 new exterior light fixtures and 27 emergency blue light pedestals to replace aging lampposts. The extensive work will improve lighting along roads, parking lots and walkways thanks to efficient LED technology that brings a 50% energy savings. Construction is currently underway outside the university’s athletic facilities near Route 281 and it is expected to wrap up by the Fall 2022 semester.
  • Park Center Hall of Champions: A new, interactive display for SUNY Cortland’s C-Club Hall of Fame can be viewed outside Corey Gymnasium, on the second floor of the main indoor athletic facility that houses the university’s NCAA Division III Athletics Department and Physical Education Department. In addition to banners hanging from the ceiling to recognize the university’s 25 national championship teams, the Hall of Champions now includes a large flat-screen television for visitors to learn more about the 300-plus C-Club Hall of Fame members. Black-and-white portraits were replaced by a brighter panel display featuring names from each induction class.
  • Sidewalk replacement and repair: Several campus walkways received extensive work already this summer, including the sidewalk along Gerhart Drive outside Old Main and Miller Building, which was completely replaced and widened. Sidewalks near the quad between Bowers Hall and Sperry Center also are scheduled to be widened in order to accommodate more foot traffic and campus service vehicles.
  • Old Main window painting: The university’s oldest academic building will receive an exterior touch-up starting in mid-July when its peeling window sills are repaired and painted.

In addition to the many construction projects currently underway or nearing completion, several more are in the planning and design phase for 2023, including the C-wing of Cornish and Van Hoesen halls, which encompasses the large space formerly occupied by the university’s Tomik Fitness Facility.

This story is also available on SUNY Cortland’s website.