Summer Campus Improvements Enhance Life and Learning

September 9, 2019

Students returning to St. John’s for the Fall 2019 semester are discovering a wide range of improvements and enhancements to the Queens, NY, campus, signifying the University’s ongoing commitment to offering an outstanding academic and campus life experience.

Working to meet one of the University’s Strategic Priorities—to enhance the teaching and learning environment—over the past few months, Campus Facilities and Services completed nearly 75 projects around campus.

“This has been a very busy summer for our team,” said Brian Baumer, Associate Vice President, Campus Facilities and Services.

“From the classrooms to the residence halls to the grounds, our goal is to support every physical aspect of the St. John’s experience.”

Enhancing the Learning Environment

First opened in 1964, Marillac Hall is one of the University’s oldest buildings and houses 51 percent of the classrooms for the Queens campus. Fittingly, it is also the focal point of many of the summer upgrades on campus, with phase one of the enhancements affecting the building’s first and second floors.

Improvements to the classrooms in Marillac include new teaching walls with either flat screen displays or projectors, new whiteboards, new flooring, a two-tiered ceiling with new lighting, and multiple charging outlets for cell phones and laptops.

Elsewhere in the building, visitors find sleek, modern corridors, complete with lighting soffits and entrance portals into all rooms, built-in benches, wood millwork at key areas along hallways, and charging areas for mobile devices.

Wheelchair access to Marillac Auditorium is now improved, as the side entrance to the auditorium (adjacent to the Campus Store) was leveled out to make it more accessible for people with disabilities.

“The net result is a great aesthetic and functional improvement to the teaching environment, which help supports student success,” said Mr. Baumer.

First-Class Facilities for All Athletes

While Red Storm fans are likely familiar with Carnesecca Arena’s lobby, seating areas, and hardwood court, the majority of the enhancements and improvements made to the building took place in behind-the-scenes areas of the arena, as renovations were made to the women’s and men’s locker room facilities.

The women’s soccer, softball, and tennis teams now benefit from having new, dedicated locker spaces, while the smaller-roster golf and fencing teams share a space. New flooring and lockers were installed throughout the area and new lights were installed in the shower area. Remodeling of the women’s locker rooms actually began in January, when restrooms were remodeled with new sinks, tiles, partitions, and lighting.

The men’s baseball, fencing, and golf team locker room received new restroom fixtures, while the shower room has been refurbished with new tile flooring and shower stalls, as well as new benches, storage, and robe hooks.

Elsewhere in the arena, new display cases accentuate the entrance to the Athletics Department offices, which also include new branding graphics and updated, three-dimensional signage.

Inside Taffner Field House, the men’s basketball locker room now features a new seating lounge within the existing room, new TV displays, new furniture, and a backlit athletics logo mounted on the ceiling.  

The courts inside Taffner are retrofitted with new LED lighting throughout. These lights not only increase the existing lighting levels at the court—they are also dimmable.

“With the new LED lights, we now have the ability to adjust the lighting levels to the appropriate function, such as basketball practice, summer camps, University meetings—even the annual Christmas party,” said Mr. Baumer.

“Home Improvements” inside the Residence Village

Students residing in John Cardinal O’Connor Hall are enjoying the improvements that were made to their home away from home, as the building’s lobby underwent a complete renovation over the summer. Similar to the recent improvements made to both Helen and Hugh L. Carey and Hollis Halls, the lobby features new flooring, ceilings, desk furniture, lighting, and wall graphics.

Century Hall residents returned to rooms that feature new room furniture, including beds, desks, chairs, and dressers. These improvements are part of a phased furniture replacement program that began several years ago. The entire plan is scheduled for completion over the next three years and includes off-campus University housing.

The student lounges in Century Hall have also been refurbished to better meet the current trends by offering new furniture with flexible seating arrangements that encourage both individual study and group interaction.

At the request of students, the former multipurpose room on the ground level of Donovan Hall has been retrofitted to provide an open space exercise area. Hardwood flooring was installed, along with mirrors and a ballet bar. The audio/visual equipment in the space was also updated and protective mats are available to protect the floor for other activities.

Elsewhere on Campus

Inside St. Augustine Hall, Einstein Bagels can now be found on the first floor of the building, in the space once occupied by Red Mango. To better separate the dining area of Einstein Bagels from the adjacent elevator bank, a new, decorative screen has been added, as well as a new soffit over the elevator bank.

New, energy-efficient windows were installed in Newman and St. Augustine Halls, replacing the 60-year-old, single-pane windows found in both buildings.

The University’s ongoing effort to repave internal roadways is evident around the 102-acre Queens campus, most notably outside of Marillac Hall, where existing pavers around the fountain were reset, providing a solid and stable base for both pedestrians and vehicles.

“Ultimately, the goal of many of these projects is to improve the learning environment for our students,” said Mr. Baumer. “We want to ensure they have the best resources available so that they may find success at St. John’s and beyond.”