Binghamton University is continuing construction on a new welcome center at the campus’ main entrance.
Last year, the BU Council — a body responsible for certain University operations — voted to build a new welcome center on Glenn G. Bartle Drive. Currently under construction, the center will be connected by a canopy to the information booth situated at the main entrance. The purpose of the welcome center will be to provide resources to campus visitors.
The project was made possible by a $1.2 million donation from Roger Kramer ‘72, and through capital funds from a SUNY construction project, amounting to a budget of about $2.5 million.
Ryan Yarosh, senior director of media and public relations at BU, described the amenities the new welcome center will offer.
“The project combines an enhanced information station, [a] welcome center with gathering space and dedicated parking area that will provide a sense of arrival to new and returning visitors to campus,” Yarosh wrote in an email. “The welcome center will enhance visitors’ first impressions of campus, engage returning alumni and build pride in the University.”
In an interview with FOX 40, BU President Harvey Stenger said the welcome center may include “brochures available for area attractions and flatscreen TVs advertising local restaurants,” providing a marketing opportunity for local businesses.
The building will be named after Roger and his wife Charlene Kramer ‘73, who both received their undergraduate degrees from BU. Since their time as students, they made multiple financial contributions to the school over the years to improve the campus, also providing financial assistance to students through their scholarship.
Yarosh elaborated on the Kramers’ contributions to the BU campus as a whole.
“The new building will be named the Charlene and Roger Kramer Welcome Center in recognition of significant support from Roger Kramer ’72 and his late wife, Charlene Kahlor Kramer ’73,” Yarosh wrote in an email. “In 2017, the University community celebrated the naming of the Charlene Kahlor Kramer Traditions Hallway in the Alumni Center at Old O’Connor Hall. The Kramers’ loyal support also includes student aid via the Charlene Kahlor Kramer ’73 and Roger Kramer ’72 Scholarship.”
During Roger Kramer’s time at BU, he met his wife and became the first in his family to earn a college degree.
“I have such fond memories of my time at [BU] that I wanted to give back to my school,” Kramer wrote. “Helping out with the construction of a welcome center was a great opportunity. My late wife, Charlene, and I were both the first generation of our families to graduate from college and the University helped my wife, in particular, by providing her with scholarships and work-study opportunities. We were both so grateful to have received our undergraduate degrees from [BU].”
Although this project has been ongoing since summer of 2022, students can expect the welcome center to open its doors soon. According to Karen Fennie, the communications specialist for Physical Facilities, the construction project is currently 25 percent complete, and its estimated end date is January of 2024.
Selina Chan, a freshman majoring in mathematics, was excited to hear about a new building being added to the information booth.
“I’m thrilled to see the new extension to the information center,” Chan said. “I think it’s important that the welcome center will provide information about the University and the community that surrounds it to campus visitors.”