A new building will soon join Centennial Hall, Illick, Jahn, Baker, Marshall, and Bray Hall on the ESF campus. The construction of the much-awaited Gateway Building is well underway and is scheduled to be finished this November.
What will make this new building unique is the fact that it will be environmentally sustainable in almost every way. Vice President of Administration Joseph Rufo has been overseeing the project for 18 months and is very pleased with the progress. He has been at ESF since January of 2009. “It’s going to be a great building sustainably. It will be LEED Platinum certified, include a combined heat and power plant which will offset 50% of the steam we buy from Syracuse University, use wood pellets as fuel which will heat the Gateway building, Illick, Jahn and Baker and will save a considerable amount of money on steam and heat.”
The total cost of the construction is $30 million, but in the long run, it will save more money. “Eventually we want to make wood pellets of our own with our willows to save some money. Nothing will be wasted, even the ashes from burnt pellets will be re-used and put on forest roads and ground areas to stimulate growth. Nothing will go to the landfill. Micro turbans will also significantly decrease energy costs. All in all we’re saving about $1 million a year,” Vice President Rufo says. In addition, the costs of the building will not affect student tuition in any way. “Money used to build the building is supplied by the state. There is no relationship between that building and tuition,” he adds.
Seeing the ongoing construction on the way to class everyday has made many ESF students anxious about the opening of the building. Erin Reidy, a sophomore Biology major, says, “At first I was really excited because I thought the building would be open in time, and I thought all of the construction would be over because it was going on last year. But now that I’m here, the construction is kind of a nuisance and it seems to be going slowly.”
Construction on the building has been going on since March 2011, according to Vice President Rufo. The building will be complete and available to the community at the beginning of the 2013 spring semester. However, the building will receive a temporary certificate of occupancy that will permit the Finestone Event, a local fundraiser, to be held in the building. The fitness center on the lower level will be finished later because of an increased need for funding to supply machines and equipment. The final certificate of occupancy will be granted in late November.
In addition to the incredible sustainable measures, the Gateway building will also serve as a new hang out spot for students. It will be a complex, highly efficient building, and the likes of which have never been seen on the ESF or SU campus. Vice President Rufo is excited to see how students will react to the building. “This is not your typical building given the sustainability and the design. I would call it a prototype building, and I can’t wait to see it up and running.”