If you build it, they will come, or so the saying goes. At Plattsburgh State, many renovations and upgrades were made to two eating locations and one residence hall this past summer.
In 2017, The Atlantic reported that colleges and universities in the United States collectively spent $8.4 billion on new construction and renovations from January through August, up nearly 10 percent over the same period the year before, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Clinton Dining Hall at PSUC underwent many renovations and upgrades since last year.
Wayne Duprey, Executive Director of PSUC’s College Auxiliary Services, said the total cost of the project was in excess of $8 million over three phases of construction.
The first phase was focused on infrastructure and remodeling the dining room over the summer break of 2017, the second was the repositioning of the omelette and pasta station over the winter and spring semester of 2018 and the third was the finalization of designs, specialized food stations and the installment of four kiosks spread-out the dining hall. All three phases were officially completed this summer.
Duprey said the kiosks in Clinton are part of an evolution to provide a restaurant-style experience.
“When you’re serving the numbers that we serve downstairs, we’re a high-volume facility,” he said, emphasizing how the batch-cooking is easy to prep but hard to specialize for students.
“The kiosks give the students the ability to customize menu selections that suit their dietary needs and lifestyle preferences,” Duprey said.
At each kiosk, students are prompted to input any food needs like allergies, gluten intolerance, veganism or vegetarianism to help find a food station and an option that suits them. The receipt is printed with an order number, and the order will be ready at that food station within a few minutes.
Despite the transitions for both students and staff to Clinton’s upgrades, Duprey said that one of the main changes in the works is the addition of wait times to the kiosks to avoid hassle of students waiting in long lines.
Duprey also said that CAS was pushed to make more environmental sustainability changes on campus by the Environmental Action Committee with the removal of plastics bags and straws inside PSUC’s two dining halls.
At Clinton, there’s a new option to take meals to go; students can pay a deposit for a clamshell to-go container, fill it with a hot or cold meal to take home, and return the shell to the dining hall to receive your deposit back.
PSUC’s walk-up breakfast eatery, Griddles, located in the Angell College Center, also received a makeover. At 2 p.m., Griddles closes and reopens at 4 p.m. as Street Eats.
Duprey said CAS hosted the Student Association at the end of the spring semester and pitched the concept of Street Eats with the students in mind.
“We wanted to try to offer something within our portfolio [that] reflect the changing demographics of our student body,” Duprey said, suggesting an increase of new students from the New York City area and southern areas of the state.
Street Eats offers a meal value option of specialized bowls where students can have their choice of rice, protein and toppings.
“First-year students will [eventually] discover the flexibility of their meal plan and find out where they can use their retail meals at places like Street Eats,” Duprey said, mentioning the growing patron numbers (a net increase of over 500 students) at the location in just the first week of the semester.
Macomb Hall was also fully renovated over the summer for new and returning PSUC students. The three-story building now features one large main lounge on the first floor and smaller lounges on the second and third floors, each with a full kitchen and laundry room. The basement of Macomb now holds the Educational Opportunity Program offices.
Childhood and special education major Maggie Griffiths is a graduate student and Macomb’s resident director this year.
Griffiths has three years of resident assistant experience and was Head RA in Banks and deFrendenburgh Hall for two years.
“I think our lounge spaces are gorgeous,” Griffiths said. “It was time for a facelift and I think they did a beautiful job,”
In terms of student comfort and appeal living in the dorms, Griffiths thinks PSUC has done well, renovating at least one building each academic year.
“I think when people tour the college, they like to see renovated buildings,” she said. “I think [PSUC] learns a little bit from each renovation they do. It’s fun to see what they make unique about each building,”
But while new buildings are nice to have, Griffiths also expressed how the residents make each building their own.
“I lived in Banks for two years, and I loved it,” Griffiths said. “[Living on campus] is what the students make of it and what the Res Life staff does too. It’s a type of community that’s built within the building.”
More future renovations are in the works for both Housing and Residence Life and CAS.
Whiteface Hall is currently under construction and will be completed by next fall while Kent Hall is on deck, and has already begun performing test boring on both sides of the dorm yesterday and today.
Email Emma Vallelunga at email@example.com