November 12, 2012


Professors wait out renovation

Many displaced by $44 million renovation of college’s science hall


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Workers install rebar on Nov. 2 prior to pouring a concrete wall during the Bowers Hall construction.

Staff Reporter

John Sternfeld has a front-row seat to the renovation and expansion of Bowers Hall, the science classroom and laboratory center at SUNY Cortland.
“That’s why I kept this office,” the biology professor said Thursday, looking out the window of his second-floor office onto the site where the building’s expanded wing is being constructed.
Workers were smoothing concrete, by hand and with a whirling machine.
The sun shone on sheets of green insulation, beams, piles of dirt, and the fencing surrounding the building.
Sternfeld coordinated the moving of faculty in the biology, physics, chemistry and geology departments to new offices or labs in nearby Cornish and Van Hoesen halls, which began in the summer of 2011.
The $44 million project is expected to be finished for spring semester of 2014.
It is one of several renovation or construction projects on the campus this year. Dowd Fine Arts Center is being renovated. A new residence hall has been taking shape across the quad from Smith and Casey towers, attached to Hendrick and Hayes halls.
Fencing now surrounds the former Carl “Chugger” Davis Field next to Lusk Field House, where a $56 million student life center will be constructed. Excavation has begun there.
Bowers Hall, finished in 1963, has two three-story wings that form a sort of “L” shape.
The expansion is going where the old entrance and museum were, on the south side where the two wings come together. It will connect to the wing that stretches east to west, which has been gutted.
Sternfeld pointed out a slanted area of the site, which will become a lecture hall spanning two stories.
Some faculty kept offices in the intact wing of Bowers Hall and moved their laboratories, while others did the opposite. They have doubled up on using lab space and in some cases have scheduled labs at night, Sternfeld said.
The Chemistry Department moved its offices to space in Van Hoesen Hall, where education departments are housed.
The building has been used for displaced departments before; two years ago, it was home to the sport management department while the Professional Studies Building was being finished.
“It’s all a little hard for instructors but we try to make (the adaptation) transparent to students,” Sternfeld said. “We absorb the brunt of the changes. We make it so students think evening labs are normal.”
SUNY Cortland has erected two modular classroom and office buildings next to Memorial Library as well.
One building holds nine geology faculty offices, three for one faculty member each and six for two to three lecturers each. A sign on the door reads, “Center for Displaced and Lonely Science Professors.”
The other building has three classrooms that seat up to 40 students each, with blackboards and projection technology.


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