While it may be difficult to remember a time when Binghamton University wasn’t under construction, many of the current projects underway on campus are finally coming to a close.
The renovations on the University Union and the food service area are expected to be completed by January 2014. The food service area will feature food from Red Mango, Pandini’s, Mein Bowl, C-Store, SubConnection, Café Spice, American Grill, Holy Habanero and Starbucks Coffee as well as international and New York-style deli cuisine and a salad bar. The New University Union will hold several student services including the Career Development Center, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Tutoring Center, the Educational Opportunity Program and TRiO.
Despite being on schedule now, the food court in the New Union has had many deadline changes over the past several months.
“We originally stated the opening date would be this fall. The main reason for the delay was that one of the food venues changed. This required some additional design (about two months) which would have put the opening later in fall 2013,” wrote Karen Fennie, a communications specialist from the physical facilities department.
Lisa Stockman, a junior majoring in psychology, remembers how handy the food court used to be for students who participated in activities nearby New Union.
“It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve been in the food court, and I’ve missed it so much.” Stockman wrote in an email. “I really loved how convenient it was, especially because I spend a lot of time in the Fine Arts Building, and the food court was right next to it, so popping in for a quick bite during the short rehearsal breaks we get was always so nice.”
The Center of Excellence — a building that will provide space for the expansion and consolidation of Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP) and its interdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers from different institutions — is in its first phase as electrical work, drywall and interior framing near completion. The building is located near the ITC and totals a net cost of about 30 million dollars. It is expected to be finished in August 2014.
“The facility will help bridge critical scientific, technology, commercialization and education gaps, and support collaborative partnerships in energy-efficient electronic systems, systems integration and packaging, flexible electronics, autonomous solar power, advanced materials and sensors, and healthcare/life sciences,” Fennie wrote.
Work has already begun on the Old Dickinson buildings, as they transition from dormitories to classrooms and offices. Old O’Connor and Johnson are both being gutted to create office space for the Information Technology and geography departments as well as room for external affairs functions. These projects are expected to be finished by late 2014.
Classrooms in Old Rafuse and Old Digman were already constructed over the summer, and a larger project is planned in Old Whitney to create two classrooms and office space for graduate and teaching assistants.
According to Fennie, the increased classroom and office space is necessary to accommodate plans for increased faculty hiring as Binghamton University expands in the coming years.
Kirin Elahi, a previous resident of the Dickinson Community and a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said he is eager for these renovations.
“I’m excited about the construction of New Dickinson because [O]ld Dickinson was not the best community for dorming. It was old and dingy,” Elahi wrote in an email. “This coming semester I will be living in New Dickinson, which I am excited about! As far as the usage of the old Dickinson buildings, I am happy that they are not just being knocked down.”
New Dickinson includes dorms of a “mini-suite style with single and double bedrooms which share two private baths,” Fennie wrote in an email. The dorms have an expected capacity of about 300 students per building, and Rafuse, O’Connor and Johnson of New Dickinson are open and being used for the fall semester.
The transformation of the Old Dickinson Dining Hall into a student services center, including student accounts, the registrar, financial aid and admissions recruiting, will involve adding 13,000 square feet to the existing building. The project is located next to New Union and is scheduled to be complete by summer 2014.
New offices, labs, classrooms, restrooms and mechanical systems have been added to the third floor of the Watson School of Engineering as part of summer renovations.
Stockman said some construction on campus is necessary but she dislikes the transition from grass to concrete.
“On one hand, I think when it’s all over, the campus will be much more aesthetically pleasing with buildings that look less miserable and more upscale,” Stockman wrote in an email, “but on the other hand I would prefer to have more green areas than concrete ones on campus.”