Fast Forward Syracuse

Once again, SU administrators hold back on Campus Framework updates

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

SU Chief Facilities Officer Pete Sala, along with other administrators, let a Campus Framework forum on Tuesday.

Few concrete updates were given on Tuesday when Syracuse University administrators hosted an open forum regarding the Campus Framework plan.

Advertised as a forum that would include updates on Campus Framework developments, there was little new information provided. The Campus Framework is SU’s 20-year infrastructure project meant to guide the physical campus development in both the short- and long-term.

Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly, Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Pete Sala and Provost for Faculty Engagement Cathryn Newton led the forum Tuesday inside the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3.

The event began as a panel discussion between those three — moderated by Student Association Vice President Joyce LaLonde — before turning into a Q&A session between the administrators and attendees. Faculty, staff and students filled out most of the auditorium.

Administrators discussed a number of different topics related to the Campus Framework, from student housing to space audits that were conducted in the fall to funding for the plan. But they didn’t present many definitive plans or findings about the Campus Framework.

They also didn’t mention much during the forum about renovations to the Carrier Dome or Archbold Gymnasium, two of the larger infrastructure projects included as part of the Campus Framework.

During the fall semester, Sala and other university officials met with deans and selected faculty from schools and colleges across the university “to better understand where each college is going” as well as to learn about their physical space needs.

The university also conducted two space audits during the fall semester, including an accessibility audit.

In an SU News release promoting Tuesday’s forum that circulated earlier this month, it was stated that administrators during the forum would summarize the results of both the meetings with deans and the two space audits.

But those results were not provided at Tuesday’s forum. In regard to the meetings with deans, Sala said they “helped us drive the decisions that feed into the framework” and that he plans on meeting with deans again, but didn’t discuss the findings of the meetings.

Sala also didn’t discuss specific findings of the two audits that were conducted in the fall, even when prompted by LaLonde. The university and a partner company examined the campus, “from the basement to the roof” of every building, during the two audits.

“The findings are fluid,” Sala said.

He added that the university is currently examining every building and “every pathway” on campus to gauge movement across the campus and will deliver a report by the end of the coming summer.

Administrators also talked at length about student housing, but discussed only ideas — including phasing housing away from South Campus and instituting a three-year requirement for students to live on campus — rather than definitive plans. Sala also didn’t answer part of a question from philosophy professor Robert Van Gulick about the cost of potentially moving housing from South Campus.

The subject of money was again brought up later in the meeting, when an audience member asked about general funding for the Campus Framework plan and from where that money will come. The exact cost of the Campus Framework plan is currently unknown, though it is estimated that the renovations to the Dome and Archbold will cost around $250 million in total.

Wheatly didn’t provide exact details about funding for the plan, but said that university leadership and academics need to be “deploying their resources in the most appropriate way” to help generate money to fund the Framework. She added that the funding will come from a variety of resources, including tuition and fees, grants, contracts and donations.

To garner funding through donations, Wheatly said the university will need to find donors who resonate with infrastructure projects. She said that can be difficult, but added that it’s been done before, pointing to the named buildings across campus.

“I think we’re bringing all of this great thinking together to try and figure out how we can stretch our existing dollars as far as possible, but also identify new revenue streams and of course be more successful in fundraising,” Wheatly said.

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