The bridge and podium construction that connects many of the main academic buildings on campus is nearing the end of construction, with an abundance of both fixes and upgrades to the infrastructure.

This renovation is an extensive and detailed rehabilitation of a section of the podium, the raised walkway that connects to the second floor of a handful of buildings on campus. This step is the first of multiple phases, and is set to wrap up late-September to early-October.

This phase was chosen to be the first phase of the construction project because it was the most damaged, with some being considered critical. This section starts at Parking Lot 8, located outside of Yokum Hall, continuing past Beaumont Hall and completing the bridge, and common student shortcut, by connecting Hudson Hall.

This construction project has been a massive overhaul, used not just to bring the areas that have begun to deteriorate back up to code, but also to add a plethora of new features that were not present before.

Rick Larch, who has been the Capital Project Manager at SUNY Plattsburgh since 2010, cited a few specific improvements that he feels are the most exciting and useful.
The first feature is the addition of a complex radiant snow melt system.

“The old system had become both clogged from years of runoff and eroded from use of salt which was used to combat the clogged drains,” Larch said. “This new snowmelt system should work much better.”

The plan is for the system to work so well that there will be no need for outside snow removal on these parts of the podium, but rather that the system being installed now will be able to handle it on its own.

Another feature that is being added is a green space, part of a green roof system.

This system will shrink the shape the actual physical walkway into a weaving pattern, and surrounding it with green grass and perennial plants on the outside.

Though this step was partially down for aesthetic purposes, it will also reduce the eco footprint of this section of the bridge by 60 to 70 percent.

Some other additions include new-and-improved LED lighting on the underside of the bridge near the Draper Street entrance to Feinberg Library, a more efficient heating system that is now connected to earlier completed systems and will run through the heating plant, repainted and modified railings on a handful of staircases and a vibrant, bright red concrete throughout the entire podium.

According to Larch, the project was originally supposed to be completed before this summer began, but he said many reasons lead to delays, and not just in this project, but construction in general.

SUCS Site Representative Arnold Williams said that a lot of the delay stemmed from specific processes that were dependent on the weather, specifically the process of the waterproofing of the walkway.

There have been some small changes that have added work. Unfortunately that affects the scheduling.” Williams said, “A lot of the processes that have to happen are weather related.
It can’t be certain temperatures or weather when waterproofing material and pouring concrete are happening.”

He also expressed how it may seem crazy to students and other people on campus that this project has taken so long, but that the process has a lot more to it than one may believe.

“To the average person it doesn’t look like much but there are a lot of steps in the process and a lot of those rely on the weather which we can’t control,” Williams said.

The limited access created by this project had the worst effect on students who spend a lot of their time in Hudson. One of those students is senior biology major Anthony Asencio, who is excited to have an expedited trip to class.

“It will help me tremendously because as a biology major, I have research and almost all my classes on that side of campus, particularly Hudson.” Asencio said. “It’ll help me get there faster and I definitely won’t have to get up as early.

This is just phase one of the project and the following phases, which will be a reconstruction of some even heavier populated areas near the ACC and Feinberg, will certainly have similar effects, but by the end of this process PSUC will be more energy efficient and up-to-code than ever before.

Email Bailey Carlin at bailey.carlin@cardinalpointsonline.com

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<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/bailey-carlin/" rel="tag">Bailey Carlin</a>