Thousands of students soon to arrive in Oneonta, Delhi and Cobleskill will find changes in the appearance of their campuses, thanks to construction projects.
Enrollment at the public university colleges is about the same or up slightly, college officials said this week, and students will have some additional learning opportunities in new or broadened academic programs.
More than 6,000 students will start classes Wednesday at the State University College at Oneonta. More than 12,000 applicants sought the 1,100 seats in the freshman class, resulting in a continued strong academic profile, college officials said.
At the State University College of Technology at Delhi, about 3,550 students will start classes Sept. 3. The enrollment figure is similar to last year, college spokeswoman Kimberly MacLeod said, and this academic year, the college will celebrate its centennial to mark its May 24, 1913 founding.
At the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, almost 2,600 students, including 1,100 first-time students, will begin Thursday, officials said. Classes start Aug. 27.
At Hartwick College in Oneonta, new students arrive Aug. 30, and returning students arrive Sept. 2. Classes for the 1,500-student body start Sept. 4.
At SUNY Oneonta, two major projects were under way this summer -- Littell Hall, a dormitory, and Fitzelle Hall, an academic building, Thomas Rathbone, associate vice president of facilities, said Friday. The projects and a number of other improvements on campus total about $62 million for construction, not including design or furnishings.
Littell Hall was gutted and renovated, a 14-month project that was completed this summer, Rathbone said. Electrical and mechanical systems were replaced, and an addition expanded occupancy from about 200 to 250 students in traditional double and triple rooms, he said. Construction costs for Littell were about $8.7 million.
In May, work began at Fitzelle Hall in a project entailing $33.8 million in construction costs, Rathbone said. A wing of the building was demolished, he said, and two wings will be added.
The renovations will provide new electrical and ventilation systems, plus upgrades to instructional spaces, Rathbone said, and the project will be completed in July 2014.
Fitzelle Hall houses several academic department, including education and mathematics, and offices and classrooms have been relocated to other buildings, Rathbone said.
Students will be using a newly installed stairway between the quadrangle and Bugbee Road as they walk from academic buildings to the Hunt College Union, Rathbone said. Many other projects addressed not-so-visible infrastructure needs of the campus buildings, most of which were built between 1958 and 1974, he said.
Rathbone said projects this summer included replacement or repairs to five roofs; replacement of two segments of underground heating line and of a water line; upgrades of heating and ventilation in all or part of seven buildings; window replacement in three buildings; and replacement of a large boiler in the central heating plant.
Also, work is almost complete in a $360,000 project to renovate a laboratory at Moe Pond near Otsego Lake at the college's Cooperstown facility, Rathbone said.
First-year students will begin moving into campus residence halls Sunday.
"We'll be ready," Rathbone said.
In academic offerings, SUNY Oneonta this year offers two new graduate programs, one in mathematics and the other in special education. Officials said 15 students have been accepted into the special education program, which is offered in partnership with Springbrook, a local school and residence for people with disabilities.
In three of six residence halls on the SUNY Delhi campus, students will find areas that have been renovated in a project costing $3.5 million, MacLeod said.
The college's day care center has been moved and expanded to about double capacity of 99 children, she said, and will be fully operational this fall. The center is for children, ages from infancy to pre-school, of students, faculty, staff and community residents.
MacLeod said construction crews continue working at Sanford Hall, which houses classrooms and computer labs. The project began in the spring and will be complete by next fall, she said. The building will have a small café and lounge called the Centennial Center.
SUNY Delhi has formed a task force to integrate service learning into the academic program, MacLeod said. The college has a tradition of emphasizing volunteer service by students and is working to formalize programs to be reflected in college credits and on transcripts, she said.
Last academic year, SUNY Delhi students performed 24,600 hours of community service, MacLeod said. Community service will become part of coursework and internships but isn't a college requirement, she said.
In academic programs, SUNY Delhi's integrated energy systems will begin this fall semester with 31 students, which is six more than projected, MacLeod said.
At SUNY Cobleskill, applications and deposits have increased by 4 percent, college officials said, and the baccalaureate program enrollment continues to expand with the introduction this fall of a new four-year degree program in applied psychology.
Crews have been working on campus upgrades, including a multi-million dollar beautification project to improve pedestrian access and green spaces. A courtyard between Knapp Hall and Bouck Hall will have a space honoring those who have been in the U.S. armed services.
Other improvements throughout campus include new concrete walkways, outdoor gathering spaces, stone seating walls and landscaping, officials said.
Construction has begun on the $38.7 million Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, which will bring together three major academic programs -- plant sciences, fisheries and wildlife and animal sciences. The center is scheduled to be ready for the fall 2014 semester.