Students will see one fewer dining option next year as Hinman College prepares to make major renovations.
Renovation plans for the 2019-20 academic year were announced during building-wide meetings held throughout the living community last week. The renovations will affect Hinman Dining Hall, Hughes Hall and Cleveland Hall, putting all three out of commission for the year.
The meetings were led by Kandyce Baker, Hinman College area director, and Al Vos, collegiate professor of the community. According to Baker, the dining hall will be torn down and rebuilt to encompass more seating, programming and offices.
The two residence halls will undergo internal renovations, some of which include electrical and plumbing improvements. All three buildings will begin renovations in May 2019 and reopen in August 2020.
Renovations to the residence halls are a part of an initiative by Binghamton University to revamp at least one building each year. Starting with Newing College in 2013, every living community on campus has been remodeled, except Hinman College and Oneida Hall in College-in-the-Woods. Plans to renovate Oneida Hall were changed to accommodate Hinman College.
“We want to do what we can to minimize both the number of students experiencing the disruption and the level of that disruption,” Vos wrote in an email. “Given the new plans for reconstruction of Hinman’s dining hall, we are looking at an adjustment in the schedule of hall renovation, not something completely unplanned or unexpected.”
With Hinman College down to three residence halls and no dining hall, students currently residing in the living community will face a challenging decision regarding their future housing plans, said Elizabeth Nutig, co-president of Hughes Hall and an undeclared sophomore.
“I feel like a lot of residents are stressed about their choice of whether or not to live in Hinman next year,” Nutig said. “Especially many freshmen feel really stuck. Their default is sticking to the place that they have spent this year growing comfortable with and growing to love, but obviously that place won’t be the same next year.”
Although the renovations may cause problems for students, Vos said he believes there are other reasons students choose to live in Hinman College.
“Hinman is more than the physical buildings, and we are determined to uphold the Hinman spirit,” Vos said. “We are thinking about creative ways to sustain the pride and sense of community that we have in Hinman.”
To help create solutions for potential problems, Vos and Baker have begun to assemble a “transition team” composed of students who want to help.
“Hinman will look very different next year and we are in the process of planning out how to preserve all the things students love about Hinman during the renovation project,” Baker said. “We want the student voice to be at the forefront of this project.”
Although Nutig is concerned for students in the community, she said residents of Hinman College are known for making the best of tough times and would find a way to accept and appreciate their living situation.
“There will be no shortage on the so-called ‘Hinman spirit,’” Nutig said. “I have no doubt that the Hinman community will come together even more. It will be easier for all residents to get involved and for everyone to have a voice in the community.”