Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Mason Hall renovations in finishing stages

Current Plattsburgh State students are no strangers to campus alterations, but they may be unaware of the next finished project that will be unveiled with the beginning of the fall semester — a new campus-wide mail center located in Mason Hall.

All mail addressed to on-campus students will be sent there, and the existing mailrooms that residence halls presently use will be turned into offices for resident assistants, PSUC Director of Housing and Residence Life Steve Matthews said. These offices will also function as equipment rooms.

The new mail center will operate on standard business hours during the day, as opposed to the nightly hours of operations that are now in place.

“That’s more convenient because if you’re just not around, because maybe you have a job at a restaurant or something,” Susanne Fenton, PSUC resident director and adolescent education graduate student, said. “And you can never get your mail. This way, you can go earlier in the day.”

Matthews said the specific business hours of the mailroom are currently uncertain.

“The details (as far as) the actual hours, I couldn’t tell you at this point,” Matthews said. “I’ll be honest, we’ll probably fluctuate those a little too and learn what works best for our student population.”

Matthews said PSUC is one of the few colleges to have mailrooms in every building.

“Most college students have a centralized mail location, or really big schools may have four or five centralized mail locations,” Matthews said, “but it’s just easier from a management perspective, from a security perspective and from a budget perspective to centralize the operation.”

Regarding security, the new mailroom, while it shares the same building as Mason Hall, students will not be able to access the residence hall from the mailroom. The main entrance to the mailroom is equipped with the familiar black boxes, at which students must swipe their Cardinal Cards to gain access. This allows students to gain access to their mailbox 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“From my perspective,” Matthews said, “the biggest advantage we’ll have is the security of packages and mail and knowing where it is at every second.”

This time, roommates will not share mailboxes. Each student will have their own mailbox for their entire academic career at PSUC as long as they remain living on campus.

“Think of it this way: You think your roommate’s taking your mail, you don’t have to worry about that,” Matthews said. “Everyone gets their own box.”

The mailroom has 3,000 mailboxes, Matthews said, for an approximate on-campus student population of about 2,500. The remaining 500 mailboxes are provided in the case that a student needs to switch mailboxes.

The mailroom will also include a bank of lockers from which students can pick up packages.

There will also be a service window where students will be able to pick up large packages at normal business hours, and if a package is too big to fit through the window, there is a door where they can be transferred in and out. This service window, Matthews said, will also be used for students to send packages and buy postage.

Matthews said they will hire two full-time employees, one on June 1 and the other July 1, who will be tasked with management of the mailroom. PSUC Residence Life will hire temp-service student workers as well, but Matthews said they are unsure how many they will hire at this point.

“All the mailrooms across campus right now are going to become equipment rooms,” Fenton said, “and instead of paying people to work those like we do now, we are just going to have the RA on duty work it at night.”

The creation of a campus-wide mail center comes with the complete renovation of Mason Hall’s dorm rooms and the addition of a kitchenette on each floor of the building. The next building to begin renovations will be Moffitt Hall, which will be taken out of commission during the summer and for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Although she is an off-campus student, Human Development and Family Relations Major Devona Paul said she thinks this will be a positive force on campus.

“On campus, the more easily accessible that mail is to students, (the better). It will always have a huge impact and make a difference,” Paul said.

“I like the idea of the 24-hour access of it,” Waheson Lazore, a PSUC public relations major, added. “For some people (who) live a little bit farther, though, it might be more difficult because I like to go downstairs in my socks and get my mail and go back up to my room, but the hours, I think, (are) a definite advantage.”

Matthews said in an email that the mail center across from Adirondack Hall will continue to function mainly as the headquarters for faculty and staff mail.

“I’m excited about it,” Matthews said. “I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.”

Email Timothy Lyman at

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