Rob-Fal renovations planned for summer

By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93

[Image courtesy of St. Bonaventure University]

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Feb. 12) — Freshmen living in Robinson and Falconio halls next fall will most likely have an entirely different experience than that of the current freshman class.

And the current freshman class also shouldn’t make any plans to live off campus next school year.

St. Bonaventure University officials announced last night a $7.5 million plan to completely overhaul the dormitories, and also to spend roughly $250,000 to renovate common space areas in Devereux Hall.

The university’s board of trustees recently passed the proposal.

University officials expect construction to commence immediately after graduation and be finished by Welcome Days 2014.

The plan, which will almost be entirely debt-funded, includes:

*New private bathrooms and showers at the end of each wing

*Larger lounges and study rooms

*A new elevator and additional compliance for students with disabilities

*Card access and increased camera surveillance

*Removal of the blue mosaic tiles on the exterior of the buildings

The work on Devereux will include an enhanced resident assistant office with more gathering space and even a fireplace.

The Robinson and Falconio renovations will focus on improving student living and learning environments, student safety and help increase enrollment and revenue generation in the future, university officials said.

The two freshman dormitories currently have 365 beds between them. That number would drop to 326 since the larger gathering areas would take up some existing living space. The drop in beds isn’t a concern since the enrollment has declined at Bonaventure the last three years.

The project was deemed a necessity after both current students and prospective students that chose to go to school elsewhere complained about many aspects of the current dorms.

Cannon Design will be the lead architect for the renovations. Cannon has worked with Bonaventure officials on many projects in the past, including the Swan Business Center. University officials have yet to choose a construction company.

The project will cost about 70 percent less than building new residence facilities to replace the two dorms. Bonaventure typically fundraises for academic projects but debt-funds residence projects, officials said.

It isn’t the first summer reconstruction project Bonaventure has experienced.

In the summer of 2006 constructions crews completely renovated Shay and Loughlen halls, which were both done in time for the fall semester. The new dorms were used heavily for recruitment of future students, a key goal of the current project.

Construction updates and photos will be available on starting in May.

In other news, all Bonaventure freshmen and sophomores will be required to live on-campus beginning next year.

Currently, any Bonaventure student could theoretically decide to live off-campus — even freshmen. There is nothing that says otherwise.

Western New York schools such as Canisius College, Buffalo State, Fredonia State and Niagara University all require students to live on-campus for their first two years of school. Ithaca College requires students live on-campus for their first three years. Le Moyne College requires all students to live on-campus, except those that live with their parents and commute.

Exceptions to Bonaventure’s new housing plan:

*Commuters within 50 miles of Bonaventure

*Married students of students with dependent children

*Students over 21 years of age

*Students whose Residence and Food Contract is terminated by the school

*Students whom are restricted from living on campus as a result of a judicial hearing sanction

Only roughly 15 sophomores live off-campus currently (not including commuters that live with their families), so the new rules will not affect many students. However, if a freshman has already signed a lease for an off-campus house for next school year, they would receive approval after submitting a Housing Residency Exception Request Form to Rick Trietley, vice president for student affairs.

The new plan, which will still require mandatory meal plans for all students living in dormitory-style housing, is based off research that shows on-campus students tend to perform better academically, acclimate more quickly, become involved on campus and generally feel more satisfied with their college experience.

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