As building rises, parking falls

Students and staff at Oswego State continue to be impacted by three major construction projects, causing changes in classes and on-campus parking.

The Piez Hall science complex project is the biggest of the three. Park Hall is currently shuttered for renovations while Wilber Hall remains open as an addition is added. Sheldon Hall is also undergoing renovations to its facade.

Allen Bradberry, the facilities design and construction project coordinator, said the science complex project is progressing on schedule and that approximately a quarter of the work is completed.

“We’re on track for meeting our milestone dates and looking on to the future for the opening in 2013,” Bradberry said.

A significant amount of work has been completed on the project since most students left campus in May.

“Last spring you probably observed just the relocation and excavation of utilities as well as some very extensive excavation,” Bradberry said. “Through the summer months the entire foundation has developed and you’re starting to see the super structure of the building.”

The science complex includes 240 geothermal wells drilled nearly 500 feet into the earth to capitalize on geothermal energy to heat and energize the building.

“The geothermal wells will serve to offset what would normally be fossil fuel consumption,” Bradberry said.

However, the project has not been without challenges. Classes that were originally supposed to be held in Park Hall had to be moved into Wilber Hall.

Construction will continue throughout the winter.

“They’ll have temporary enclosures and temporary heat in place that will allow construction to continue right through the winter months,” Bradberry said.

On any given day, there are between 75 and 100 workers that are working on the three construction sites.

“This will progress quickly,” Bradberry said. “We’re on track for meeting out milestone dates and looking on to the future for the opening in 2013.”

Parking has also been impacted as the expansion of construction has caused lots to be closed. Since last spring, 300 spaces have been lost.

“We tried to be conservative in looking at changes because we know change is sometimes frustrating for folks,” University Police Chief Cynthia Adam said.

Commuters and employees faced the most parking challenges this semester. Three employee lots were lost due to construction. In addition to E27 and E29 near Sheldon Hall, Lot 8, adjacent to Snygg Hall, and Lot 28, located between Park and Wilber Halls, have also been closed. The strip of diagonal parking between Park and Wilbur Halls, which had been commuter lots, is also no longer in use.

“We’re trying to get all students and faculty and staff to really try to stay out of the east side of campus and instead park in the perimeter areas,” Adam said. “And that’s going to be for their benefit and also for pedestrian safety.”

Lot 17, located behind the Campus Center, will still have an overflow section for residents, but it has been moved from the north end of the lot to the southwest end.

In order to make up for the spaces that were lost by employees, Lot 23 which used to be split between employees and commuters is now an employee-only lot.

“Given that all these other employee lots had been closed, that lot has not been designated as employee only,” Adam said. “The compromise for commuters is that we have continued to provide an overflow of parking in Lot 18. That was only supposed to be one year.”

Commuters have been offered the option of parking predominantly in the Romney Field Lot. If they choose to park there, commuters will only have to pay half the amount they usually do for parking. Last year, not many students chose that option, Adam said. In order to further accommodate commuters, Adam said the bus shuttle will run from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this semester, adding another hour and a half from this past Spring semester.

“We are trying again to keep commuters out of the center of the campus during the peak hours of the day and instead have them park at the perimeter of the college…that way it reduces traffic and allows the shuttle to stay on time,” Adam said. “It can make better time if there’s less vehicles.”

The red shuttle loop has been eliminated and merged with the bus shuttle. Parking will be reassessed during the fall and changes may be made for the Spring semester, Adam said.

While a few select foremen and construction supervisors have been granted permission to park closer to the construction site, the majority of the workers park by Romney, Bradberry said.