Groundbreaking Brings Excitement to Mercy

Before Sept. 19, Mercy College was a quiet place. Now there is a little more noise on campus after the official ground breaking. However, the noise is a trade off for what the new dorms will bring to the college community

The construction seen on campus will enhance the lives of many students, especially  residents.

Faculty, staff and students gathered outside of Main Hall for the official ground breaking ceremony on Sept. 19  to recognize the changes happening on campus. Small things began to change around campus at the beginning of August, and just recently the bigger changes began. This ceremony was the official start of one of the biggest physical changes the school has seen in years.

The $30 million dollar project was proposed back in 2013, and was approved  in June of 2014. The plan is for a 350-bedroom dormitory that when  complete, will be approximately 100,000 square feet. The building will have a 5,000 square foot fitness center and a Starbucks that so many are excited about. For the 2014-2015 academic year, there are approximately 650 students who live in the dorms and the hotels. This new building is going to add to the residential community on campus.

The new building will exceed the New York State Energy code, which requires the building to have energy-efficient mechanical, lighting and power systems. New materials and innovative techniques that are used conserve energy to the greatest extent

President Tim Hall spoke at the ground breaking and stated he was excited for the future of Mercy College.

“No institution grows by standing still,” Hall mentioned. “Digging means we are making progress.”

In addition to Hall,  former president Donald Greenwald and other members of the Board of Trustees were present and were thanked for their support and hard work that has gone into all of the planning of this project. Residential Life Staff attended the event as well with much excitement as the dorms will be adding so much to their program.

Nicole Rios, a senior RA, was the student speaker at the ceremony. Rios gave a touching speech about how she got involved with Residential Life and is now excited to watch the program grow.

“I am excited to see the improvement and see my friends I am leaving behind enjoying a new environment,” Rios said. “It also means more students get to walk to the café in their pajamas for breakfast, a must for many college students.”

Kiersten Ettinger, a junior RA and Behavioral Science major, shared that she was excited to be around when the new dorms open. She was excited that students wouldn’t be as spread out as they are now by living in the hotels, and with all residential students on campus, it is going to enhance the Residential Life Community more than it is now.

Patricia Christiano, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, mentioned that she was excited about a better residential community. She wants the students to get the most from living on campus and with everything the new building is going to have, they are going to be able to get the most they can.

Excitement seems to be a theme around campus when it comes to the new building. Joe Schaefer, CFO of Mercy College, shares that excitement with the rest of campus.

“I am excited for the building itself. It is going to create additional gatherings for both commuter and residential students,” Schaefer said.

During the summer of 2014, the Victory Café was remodeled, taking some of the pressures off of the library and the Main Hall Cafeteria. Schaefer is hoping the new dorms and communal space will take even more pressure off of each location.

Schaefer stated that everything was on schedule and the estimated fall 2015 opening is still the goal. None of the plans for the building has changed but there are bigger changes coming to campus in the near future. The utility quarters are almost complete and soon the traffic will be re-routed once again.

With or without noise from the construction, campus is functioning the best it can with all of the extra machines and piles of dirt. Students seem to have gotten used to everything. Some even stop to watch what is happening on the hill with fascination. Construction will continue throughout winter break, and when students get back from break, they will be even more fascinated with what has happened over the month.

Seeing a big change like this on campus is exciting, even for the seniors who won’t be around to experience the dorms themselves. Most seem to be happy for the future of Mercy students.
“It’ll be nice to come back to visit and see what they have done to expand Mercy. I wish I could be one of the students living in them,” said Jessica Mann, a senior Social Work major.

The groundbreaking ceremony was the first of many steps during this renovation period, and everyone who attended showed nothing but excitement.