SU offers details of new residence hall to be built along Comstock Avenue
SU offers details of new residence hall to be built along Comstock AvenueMay 23, 2007Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
A new residence hall planned to open at 619 Comstock Ave. in August 2009 will be Syracuse University’s first entirely new residential building in more than 40 years — and it promises to be quite a sight.
Covering 140,000 gross square feet, the approximately $50 million, nine-story structure will offer students a mix of room types and amenities, with 250 beds, a 500-seat dining facility, a 10,600-square-foot recreation facility and 2,000 square feet of academic space.
The as-yet-unnamed hall is intended to be particularly attractive to juniors and seniors who often seek housing off campus, and it will better enable SU to maintain the institution’s competitive position with other universities across the country that have undertaken new housing construction.
SU maintains a total of some 7,600 beds on the North and South campuses. Sixty-seven percent of SU’s undergraduate students are housed on campus.
“The spacious rooms and state-of-the-art facilities will be very attractive to students who may have otherwise considered alternative housing plans,” says Peter Webber, who as director of auxiliary services oversees the University’s housing operation. “As our institution continues to grow and advance the many initiatives of our Chancellor, this new facility will serve as a model for future residence and dining halls, and renovation projects.”
“While a number of our competitors have initiated new construction, we have not erected a new residence hall since the 1960s,” says Eileen Simmons, director of the Office of Housing, Meal Plans & I.D. Card Services at SU. “Along with our continuing renovation of our current facilities, this new structure sends a very strong message that residence halls and the out-of-class experience are in the forefront of the University’s thinking.”
New hall will offer many amenities
The new hall’s residential space — measuring 95,000 square feet — will house a total of 60 split-double units and 120 single units on the third through ninth floors. The split-double units will be primarily for first-year students, and the single units will be offered primarily to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Floors 3 and 4 will be split doubles. Floor 5 will be half split doubles and half singles. Floors 6, 7, 8 and 9 will be singles.
The students will be grouped in community units of 24, with one resident advisor per community unit. Members of each community unit will share a floor lounge, study space, kitchen area, trash, laundry and bathrooms, with about four students per bathroom.
The two-story dining facility will be situated along the building’s Comstock Avenue face; a ramp will connect the first and second floors, running south to north along almost the entire span of the dining seating area. The dining facility will follow a marketplace concept, will have 500 private and open seats and will operate with hours from 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
The recreation facility — 8,600 square feet of exercise equipment and 2,000 square feet of open, multipurpose space — will be located on the hall’s second floor, along with classrooms and the main level of the hall’s residence portion, with the front desk, mail boxes, the residence director’s apartment, entry to the upper floors and a game room and a convenience store, among other features.
For hall residents who have vehicles, on-campus parking will be made available.
“The 619 Comstock Ave. location provides students convenient access to so many offerings on campus — classrooms, Bird Library, the Menschel Media Center, the Schine Student Center, the Kimmel Food Court, Marshall Street — as well as close proximity to the parking garages,” Webber says.
Construction on the site, an open area adjacent to Dellplain Hall, is projected to commence in spring 2008. Prior to the start of any work on the site, SU will submit a project plan to the city planning commission for the commission’s review and action.
Been a while since last new residence hall
The last entirely new residence halls to open at SU were Brewster and Boland halls, both in September 1966. New additions were added to Watson Hall in 1988 and Day Hall in 1989.
This summer will conclude a four-summer, complete internal makeover of Brewster and Boland halls as part of the University’s rolling 10-year cycle of residence hall renovations.
“Our window for renovations is the middle of May to Aug. 1,” Simmons says. “It’s not ideal, and makes it very difficult to complete a major renovation project all at once. Many times we get into two — and potentially three or four years — to complete large projects like Brewster and Boland.
“We spend about $4 million a summer in renovations to keep current and competitive. We’re constantly looking at what types of rooms students want and how big the rooms are,” Simmons says. “It’s a chance to say ‘What do students want in their rooms? What kind of public space do they want?’ The new building gives us an opportunity to shine a little bit at the same time that we’re upgrading our other buildings.”