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Campus Upgrades this Fall Reflect a Busy Summer for Facilities

Friday, October 25, 2013

More dining options, new laboratory space, upgraded athletic facilities, better walkways—these are among the wide-ranging improvements that greeted students and faculty when they returned to campus this fall. The work reflects an active summer on the part of St. John’s Department of Campus Facilities.

“It’s all part of our continuing efforts to ensure an outstanding learning experience for students—and complete support for the entire St. John’s community,” said Brij Anand, vice president of campus facilities and services. “Work is ongoing throughout the year, but summer offered a special opportunity to implement further improvements to our physical plant.”

A More Varied Dining Experience
A variety of new dining options are now available across campus. “New and renovated dining facilities are providing the campus community with more attractive places to eat, a wider variety of meal options, and faster service, demonstrating our continued commitment to the SJU community,” said Bernadette Lavin, assistant vice president of campus services and business operations.

The popular Law School cafeteria has been completely renovated, with a menu boasting brick-oven pizza, New York style deli sandwiches, bread made on the premises, a Starbucks brewed coffee bar, and cooked-to-order meals from an exhibition grill. Along with better lighting in the seating area, the upgraded facility features a reorganized floor design providing far more efficient traffic flow between tables and at exits and entrances.

At the St. Augustine Café, students on their way to the library now can order Red Mango frozen yogurts and smoothies. The Red Storm Diner in St. Vincent Hall was remodeled into a “retro-style” 50’s diner, featuring booth seating and offerings such as shakes, burgers and breakfast at night. The renovated Marketplace in Montgoris Hall has a fresh look and hot-food options. Other updated concepts are evident in both the D’Angelo Center and Marillac Hall Food Courts, including Chef Jet, Innovative Kitchen and Sono.

A mobile food-ordering system also is available. Students and staff can place their food order for the Marillac Subway, D’Angelo Center Deli, Red Storm Diner and Law School Deli and grill stations from any Web-enabled device. Each of these venues has an “Express” pick-up area for items ordered online. Additionally, both Marillac and the Law School are equipped with kiosks for on-line ordering.

Beauty, Efficiency, and Fitness
In August, the Department of Campus Facilities continued its efforts to prevent weather-related power outages by connecting additional campus buildings to newly installed underground electrical lines. St. Albert Hall is now linked to the School of Law. The effort cuts dependency on Con Edison’s above-ground lines, which proved vulnerable to storms like Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. “Improving campus infrastructure and its reliability is at the core of our facilities operations,” said Brian Baumer, assistant vice president of facilities.

For student athletes—and all others who enjoy walking or running their way to fitness—the refurbished outdoor DaSilva Track will be completed before the end of the fall semester. Renovations include new areas for the discus and hammer throw; double long and triple jump; pole vault; shot put; and a steeple water jump. Resurfacing of the track began in mid-August.

Over the summer, Facilities completed construction on a faculty research laboratory for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. To accommodate the new lab, located in St. Albert Hall, the CVS Lounge and Student Government offices were relocated to a site in Marillac Hall. A high-tech Employee Training Room was constructed in the University Center, and in Belson Hall, a portion of the Rittenberg Law Library was transformed into a new center for the growing number of students drawn to St. John’s acclaimed LL.M. (Master of Law) programs.

Other projects enhanced the beauty of the Queens campus. For example, Facilities created a garden near St. Thomas More Church—a new place where students can pause to relax and admire the foliage. The department also installed the Mary Garden between Donovan Hall (Residence Village) and the softball field. Reflecting SJU’s commitment to the environment, Facilities worked with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 50 trees throughout the campus.

An Enduring Concern for Sustainability
Many of this summer’s projects addressed St. John’s focus on sustainability. For example, the University switched to a more efficient “single-stream” recycling process: Now students, faculty and staff deposit glass, paper, plastic and cardboard into a single container. In addition, Facilities is placing new, more aesthetically appealing trash receptacles around campus.

Other improvements help to combat the enormous amount of waste generated by discarded beverage containers. The University has installed water-bottle fill stations in each of the Residence Village’s six buildings. The stations are situated near the facilities’ main entrances or next to first-floor elevators. Every new student received an SJU water bottle to use at the stations, which are being installed throughout the campus.

The full events schedule and other information are available at the Dining Services Web pages.

“All improvements to our facilities are made with the University’s mission in mind,” said Ibi Yolas, assistant vice president of design and construction. “Academic resources, campus life, sustainability—our goal is to support every aspect of the St. John’s experience.”