New Paltz to hold grand opening for new Student Union Atrium
NEW PALTZ – The eagerly awaited grand opening of the new addition to the Student Union Building at the State University of New York at New Paltz will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 13. With its internationally recognized design and light footprint on the environment, the new $13.4 million, 15,000-square-foot addition, known as the Atrium, is the first expansion to the Student Union since it was opened in 1971.
Interim President Donald Christian will begin the ceremony with opening remarks, followed by comments from State Assembly Member Kevin Cahill (’77), State Sen. John Bonacic and Student Association President Jennifer Sanchez. A reception, tours of the space and a ribbon cutting with photo opportunities will follow the program.
According to Vice President for Student Affairs L. David Rooney, "Not only has the form of the Student Union changed, but so, too, has the function of the building. The atrium has provided a venue for casual social interaction, recreation, commuter space, and small group study that our existing Student Union Building was unable to do. The opening of the Atrium immediately facilitated those positive changes."
The Atrium has added approximately 15,000 square feet of new space and 12,000 square feet of renovated space to provide students with new places to gather, hold events and meetings. The building features new dining venues, an enhanced bookstore, student lounge areas and an elevated seating area designed for student collaboration.
Designed as the most sustainable, high-performance building on campus to date, the addition was made possible through a special state appropriation secured by State Assembly Member Kevin Cahill (’77) and State Sen. John Bonacic, who recognized the need to upgrade the Student Union building.
With its reduced energy consumption, environmentally friendly footprint, highly efficient radiant heating installed under a recycled blue and orange glass-flecked floor, and its sparkling array of over 300 high-efficiency glass panels, the Atrium is the best – and greenest – place on campus for students to fuel up, gather thoughts, meet friends, and plan futures.
Mike Patterson, director of Student Activities and Union Services, explained “The Atrium significantly improves our current facility through enhanced student commons, complete with WiFi, and the addition of group study rooms, student conference rooms and meeting rooms. We also now have an entertainment commons and game area with billiards and flat-screen televisions.”
Steven Deutsch, director of Campus Auxiliary Services, said that the four eateries in the Atrium include Mojo Vista, with Southwestern and Mexican cuisine; The Sub Stop, offering hot and cold sandwiches, subs and panini; Tokyo Sushi; and Seattle's Best, which operates a full-service café.
Twinkling in the sun, framed and inspired by the vistas of the Shawangunk Ridge, the design of the Atrium, developed by IKON.5 Architects of Princeton, N.J., has already won several awards, including a 2009 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, and Metropolitan Arts Press. Established in the 1990s, the award programs honor and recognize outstanding new achievements and innovation for new architecture.
“The award celebrates the new structure’s unique design, its symbolic relationship to the Shawangunk Mountains and, most importantly, its purpose,” said John McEnrue, director of Facilities Design & Construction.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.