Progress Made in Campus Construction Projects

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Construction continues at McGinley as the university expects phase one of the project to be completed by August 2021. (Emma Paolini/The Fordham Ram)

Sarah Huffman, News Editor

Many of Fordham’s construction projects made progress over the summer, despite COVID-19 restrictions. 

Marco Valera, vice president of Administration, said the largest construction project on campus is the remodeling of the McGinley Center. He said that as of Oct. 1, they added the last piece of steel to the structure, and students were invited to sign that piece to leave their mark on the building. 

Valera said completion of phase one of the new campus center is expected to be completed by August of 2021. Phase one is the completion of the new building, which is currently being built in front of the old campus center. 

“When it opens up it’ll have a terrific student lounge area, expanded fitness center, more meeting spaces, a new career service office and new campus ministry office,” said Valera. 

Once that building is completed, the demolition and reconstruction of the current entrance to the Mcginley Center will take place in phase two. He said that is expected to be a 14 month project and will be completed in the fall of 2022. Phase two plans to completely change the connecting space between the gym, McGinley Center and Lombardi Fieldhouse. 

After phase two, renovations to the existing McGinley Center will take place. Valera said it will take 2-3 years to complete those changes. The first project would be redoing the dining hall with new seating and new stations. They also plan to create a Multicultural Affairs Center and bring club spaces up to the second floor in the existing building. The space that is currently Dagger John’s and the post office will be turned into varsity athlete training facilities, according to Valera. 

“It’s a really complicated project, and it’s being phased over multiple years,” he said.  

Valera said that when New York state closed everything that was non-essential in the spring, they lost about a month of work time. However, he said it did not cost them anything because of the language in their contracts, and they are hopeful they will get back on schedule. 

Another major construction project on campus was the installation of an elevator and ramp in Collins Hall. 

Stephen Clarke, assistant director for Campus Center Operations, said both the elevator and ramp were completed over the summer. He said a project to replace and upgrade the curtain and lights rigging system in Collins Auditorium’s backstage area is tentatively planned to begin at the end of this semester as part of a long-term series of improvements. 

Clarke said that due to the ongoing health emergency, completion of the elevator was delayed several months and the rigging project might now start in the spring semester. 

“The Office for Student Involvement has had an upgrade to Collins Auditorium on its long-term goals for many years, aware as it is that our theater and performing groups as well as our community would benefit tremendously from better space for productions,” said Clarke. “Collins Hall is an architectural and historical favorite here at the Rose Hill campus, and Facilities Engineering has done a beautiful job addressing access in a way that preserves the classic look of the building. Now that other construction and renovation priorities were taken care of, it was just Collins’ turn.” 

On Sept. 28, Valera sent an email to the Fordham community which said that Thebaud Hall is currently undergoing construction and will be closed through the spring of 2021. 

Valera said Thebaud is so old, its structure is actually made of wood. The wood was found to be  compromised, and they prioritized replacing internal structure. This project is expected to take 12 months to complete, he said. 

He also said they are installing more efficient boilers in the basement which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are currently three boilers temporarily providing heating to campus, located outside the building. 

In terms of smaller projects, Valera said Fordham  hopes to install more solar panels in the parking lots of the Westchester campus. He said they renovated some of the science labs and some of the dorm bathroom facilities, and made roofing repairs and replacements this summer. 

Valera also said they plan to take advantage of this year’s extended winter break by working on medium sized projects in dormitories, such as elevator work.

“We spend a lot of time and effort getting classrooms and spaces ready,” said Valera. “We take a lot of precautions against COVID-19. [We are] just maintaining what we have and being responsive to state or CDC guidance.”