Waterbury preps for renovations

Waterbury Hall, built in 1957, is part of a three-building renovation project. Scales and Funnelle halls will see renovations in the next two years.  (JoAnn DeLauter | The Oswegonian)
Waterbury Hall, built in 1957, is part of a three-building renovation project. Scales and Funnelle halls will see renovations in the next two years. (JoAnn DeLauter | The Oswegonian)

As Waterbury Hall residents are now settled into their rooms, it is time to start thinking about moving out for renovations.

Waterbury is the first building to be closed down and renovated a $33 million plan that will also include Funnelle and Scales halls.  As of Dec. 13, students in Waterbury must be gone, as construction is set to immediately start two days later. With the building  scheduled to be closed for the spring semester and not expected to reopen until the fall 2015 semester, current residents who will still attend Oswego State in the spring must start looking for a new place to call home.

With the renovation in mind, Residence Life and Housing filled most of the residence hall with international students who are studying abroad only for the current semester and will not be affected by the move. Out of the 191 current residents, roughly 50 are from the United States and are expected to return. For those students who will be staying, they are free to move out now and secure a room elsewhere or wait to be placed in an open room at the end of the semester.

Kevin Speer, Waterbury’s residence hall director for the last four years, is busy finding available rooms for students. Although it will be difficult knowing what will be available due to January graduations, current residents will be guaranteed a spot for the spring. With one less building for the spring semester, Speer knows there will be openings, but acknowledged a potential problem in overcrowding.

“We usually get a decent amount of incoming students in January so hopefully we’ll have more spots for them,” Speer said.

Built in 1957, Waterbury is one of the oldest buildings on campus and is set to be upgraded and, more importantly, be brought up to code. At this time, the building is not handicap accessible. There is no way to get students who use wheelchairs to their rooms, which according to the American Disability Act of 1990, must be fixed. This means come August, an elevator and ramps will be installed for wheelchair accessibility. Along with an elevator and ramps, the fireplace in the main lounge will be fixed and new flooring and piping will be put in to replace those filled with asbestos. The asbestos isn’t presenting a danger to the students right now, as long as the tiles don’t crack and blow dust into the air.

Larry Gettino, Oswego State’s construction coordinator, said Waterbury will have a new look to it. Other additions will include study lounges and small kitchens on the second and third floor and a computer lab on the first floor, but there are no plans to install air conditioning. Inside the individual rooms, not much will change. Armoires will replace the built-in closets.

Shannon Kleespies, who is in her second year at Waterbury, is sad the building is closing next semester because she enjoys the family-like feeling the hall has.

“I would definitely consider coming back here next year, because I really like it,” Kleespies said.

Once renovations are completed, students who are currently living in the building will get first choice if they want to move back in.

Following Waterbury, Scales will close for renovations in December 2015 and Funnelle in December 2016, if all goes according to plan. During the renovation of Scales, a tunnel will also be built connecting Scales and Waterbury, according to Gettino.

For more information regarding Waterbury’s closing, students can go to Residence Life and Housing at 303 Culkin Hall.