January 10, 2009


SUNY residence hall closed for spring facelift

SUNYBob Ellis/staff photographer
Fitzgerald Hall on the SUNY Cortland campus will be closed for the spring semester during a renovation project.

Staff Reporter

SUNY Cortland’s residential services department has closed a residence hall for the spring semester as the college continues to upgrade buildings.
Fitzgerald Hall, built in 1962, will be renovated to meet city fire code, remove telephone lines, increase electrical capacity, improve its bathrooms and replace furniture and room furnishings.
The residence hall is expected to reopen for the fall semester. The cost of the work in the building that houses about 190 students was not immediately available late Friday afternoon.
The college has been renovating residence halls built between 1959 and 1962, closing them for the spring semester. They include Shea Hall in 2007, in a project that cost $5 million; Bishop Hall in 2006 for $4 million; and Hayes Hall in 2004, for $3.1 million.
Fitzgerald Hall is a three-floor low-rise. It houses a mix of upperclassmen and transfer students.
The building is named after Lawrence Fitzgerald, who served as New York’s state treasurer and served on SUNY Cortland’s College Council for 30 years.
Ralph Carrasquillo, director of residential services, said most students who lived in the building for the fall semester have been relocated to other residence halls. Students knew when they moved in last August that the hall would close during winter break.
Transfer students who were age 21 or older were able to move off-campus. The college requires freshmen, sophomores and transfers under age 21 to live on campus for a year unless they are living in their parents’ home or are military veterans, married or have children.
Residence hall bathrooms shared by many students on a hall have been renovated over the years to have more privacy, as men’s bathrooms now have separate shower stalls. Carrasquillo said Fitzgerald Hall’s bathrooms were already renovated for that but will be modified to be more comfortable and accessible to students in wheelchairs.
The hall’s configuration of double rooms will remain, Carrasquillo said. The college has altered rooms in some halls to create suites for four students, instead of double rooms.
“We want each of these halls to have its own unique feel,” Carrasquillo said. “When I toured buildings, for example, I was really struck by the circular staircase that Bishop Hall has connecting its first and second floors. In Fitzgerald, common areas will be redesigned.”
Keeping a residence hall open for the fall semester, instead of closing it for the entire academic year, has helped SUNY Cortland handle its capacity enrollment.
The state bonds for the cost of the renovation work, and the bonds are repaid with funds students pay for living in all of the dormitories on campus.


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