August 22, 2013

New PSU building to host fall classes


---- — PLATTSBURGH — After nearly two years of construction, SUNY Plattsburgh’s newest academic building will be up and running just in time for the start of the upcoming semester.

The 43,479-square-foot structure is home to the college’s School of Business and Economics and computer-science program, previously housed in Redcay Hall.

Located on the corner of Draper Avenue and Cornelia Street, its front faces Beekman Street.

Funded by the SUNY Construction Fund’s five-year plan, the $14.2 million project was originally scheduled to be completed in fall 2012, with the building in use during the spring 2013 semester. 

Due to a series of construction-related delays, however, the first classes are now scheduled to take place there next week.


Though the project’s contractor, Pike Construction, was still doing finishing work on the first floor of the three-story structure this week, it is expected to turn the area over to the college on Friday.

The second and third floors of the building, which house office space, are complete and have been occupied by business and and computer-science faculty since last month.

Academic spaces, located on the first floor, include one 48-seat classroom, one 20-to-25-seat classroom and one 63-seat Caseroom.

“All of the classrooms are smart classrooms,” said Assistant Dean of Business and Economics Tara Studley.

The Caseroom, which features tiered seating intended to encourage interaction among students, movable whiteboards and video-conferencing technology, is the only one that will not be online this fall, as it is still under construction.

Also located on the first floor are the Peterson Accounting Lab, featuring 40 desktop-computer stations; a lab for computer-science students, complete with 30 laptop computers; and a lab for management and information-systems classes, featuring 30 desktop computer stations.


The building’s main entrance, located on the first floor, opens into a lobby marked by a large, domed skylight.

“Architecturally, it’s an extremely beautiful building,” Studley said of the structure, which was designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects and meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standards.

On one side of the main lobby is an open study area that will include seating and four flat-screen televisions tuned to business and financial news.

The Mowry Family Business Center, which will be used as a reception and conference area and also features video-conferencing technology, is located on the other side of the lobby.

Scattered throughout the structure are quiet student commons for studying and practicing presentations, as well as LED panels for displaying announcements.

Other state-of-the-art features include passive solar windows and a drinking fountain designed to fill reusable water bottles.

“This is my favorite part of the whole building,” Studley said of the fountain.


On the second floor is a large outdoor terrace with cafe-style seating and a weather-resistant rooftop garden.

“It’s kind of like giving back green space after you take it away,” Studley said of that feature.

The structure’s exterior is faced with blond bricks and has numerous windows and a flat roof.

“It has an air of professionalism, which I think is important to business students,” Studley said of the building.

She added that the state-of-the-art teaching spaces will also benefit those who study there.


Multiple factors contributed to delays in completion, including having to work around subcontractor schedules and make modifications to the structure’s design and the placement of functions throughout the building.

In addition, time was lost last fall when college officials judged that one of the structure’s exterior walls had not been built to specifications and insisted Pike Construction tear it down and reconstruct it.

The firm was reluctant to fulfill the request, SUNY Plattsburgh Vice President for Administration John Homburger told the Press-Republican at the time, as it felt the workmanship was acceptable.

Ultimately, however, the wall was rebuilt, and the contractor agreed to cover the additional cost, according to college Director of Public Relations and Publications Michelle Ouellette.

While the building will soon open its doors to students, it has yet to be given an official name.

“It’s safe to say the college is still looking at options in the near term, but our preference in the long term would be to have a naming gift come in,” Bryce Hoffman, executive director of marketing and communications, told the Press-Republican in an email.

“I can’t put an exact price tag on it, but to name the building in perpetuity for a donor would require a gift of several million dollars.”

Email Ashleigh