What Students Can Expect This Year From Campus Planning
By: Olivia Frasca
The College of Staten Island is the largest campus of the City University of New York. At 204 acres, there is room for constant improvement and development.
The second floor of new building, 2M, was opened for classes, along with completion of the entry plaza to building 2N.
Most importantly, the entire Loop Road was replaced and now offers smooth, pothole free access to parking lots.
So now what?
Hope Berté, Interim Vice President for Campus Planning, Facilities Management, and Operations, and Lillian McGinn, Director of Campus Planning, met to discuss upcoming projects and maintenance at CSI.
The two women agree that entry plazas are definitely an area of critical maintenance this year. Over the last few months, the entrance of 2N was completely redone and now features a welcoming circular entryway, benches, and planting.
Beginning this semester, the main entrances to buildings 1N, 5S, and 3S will be remodeled, too. The new entry plazas will have open space and additional seating for students to use.
Another upcoming project to commemorate the history of CSI’s land is called The Willowbrook Mile. The project is a collaboration with CSI, the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
The Willowbrook State School was a mental institution in the mid-20th century and unfortunately the site of unethical studies. A class-action lawsuit against the institution paved the way to civil rights for the developmentally disabled.
After Willowbrook was closed, it later became the grounds for the main campus of the College of Staten Island.
Berté and McGinn explained that The Willowbrook Mile will be a walking trail featuring signage and reflection stations throughout the campus. The trail will shed a light on the historical significance of the land.
DASNY, The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, is the primary contractor for the college. DASNY and CUNY will begin sidewalk repairs starting with the most damaged concrete on the north and south academic loops and backtracking to the 1C Campus Center and 1L Library.
This new sidewalk repair is critical for the safety of CSI’s students and faculty, especially those who are disabled and should be able to navigate the campus with ease.
New fire alarm systems and building evacuation plans are expected to improve campus safety. Fire drills in the Library, Campus Center, and 1R will occur over the year.
The college is also considering ways to build a greener campus. Many students have noticed umbrella-looking stations outside of the campus center. Berté and McGinn call these stations “solar docks,” which are part of the “adopt a bench” campaign.
The docks use solar panels, a smart and sustainable source of power that Campus Planning hopes to install in other parts of the college. Students can sit outside on the docks and charge their devices with ease.
Probably the most anticipated changes are the reconstruction of the athletic fields. Berté and McGinn have begun to work with consultants to redesign the soccer field.
The new soccer field will include bleachers, accessible spaces, and fencing. The 2003 turf from the soccer and softball field will also be removed and replaced by new turf.
Meanwhile, the baseball field will undergo a new installment of synthetic turf. The infield of the track also has funding for synthetic grass, which will require less maintenance in the long-run.
Although many plans are in the works to improve the campus, it will take time before students notice significant changes. Campus Planning and Facilities Management have to manage tight budgets; construction is made possible by outside grants from organizations and local politicians.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to advancing these projects is scheduling with contractors such as DASNY. Campus Planning has limited say in when these contractors decide to start construction.
As a result, construction may come at an inconvenient time for students, faculty, and staff.
What’s important to Berté and McGinn is that these projects are pushed through and not put off. Changes are speeding up, and the campus is well on its way to becoming more appealing and sustainable.
Students can expect email updates from Campus Planning and Facilities Management Operations as these changes progress. For more information on ongoing and future projects, visit the CSI website.