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New master plan designer picked for 2011 Contractor of the Year
Friday, December 02, 2011

Ten-Year Master Plan proposed by Massachusetts firm

Selected for the top award, Chan Krieger NBBJ Architecture and Urban Design, Cambridge, Mass., prepared an extensive document that suggests future directions for the physical structure of the campus.

“They are not just an architectural firm, this is an architectural firm that also has urban planners,” Markus Kessler said.  "Urban planning is not an easy thing to do. They just didn’t view this as a campus with a bunch of buildings; they also viewed it as a small city.”

A steering committee comprised of President Dennis Hefner, the university’s four vice presidents and the State University Construction Fund selected Chan Krieger from among five finalists to prepare the Master Plan, and they arrived on campus in 2009 with a deep understanding of the I.M. Pei/Henry A. Cobb master plan that brought the campus to the present.

 

The consulting firm that developed the new Facilities Master Plan that will guide development of the SUNY Fredonia campus for the next 10 years was announced as recipient of the university’s 2011 “Contactor of the Year” award at a Nov. 21 luncheon held at Cranston Marché to honor contractors for their work on projects during past year.  

The contractor’s luncheon also included a review of the year’s construction activity by Karen Porpiglia, interim vice president for Administration.  Overall construction activity on campus during 2011 included 30 major projects, valued at $15 million, which engaged 94 different contractors -- including 83 from Western New York and 28 from Chautauqua County.  Major projects included window replacement at Eisenhower Hall, exterior rehabilitation of Erie Dining Hall, roof replacement at Reed Library, replacement of emergency generators and improvements to the Grissom Hall lobby.

Selected for the Contractor of the Year Award, Chan Krieger NBBJ Architecture and Urban Design, Cambridge, Mass., collaborated with SUNY Fredonia and the State University Construction Fund to prepare an extensive document that examines how the campus functions today and outlines steps that need to be taken to sustain itself in the areas of academics, facilities and maintenance. A key objective of the report was to determine whether the needs of campus programs can be met within existing facilities.

The Facilities Master plan, the first 10-year blueprint compiled at SUNY Fredonia since 1969, calls for construction of a new academic building, replacement of Jewett Hall with a new student services building, construction of a new basketball gymnasium at Dods Hall and conversion of some roads into pedestrian walkways. The report determined that the total square feet of academic space does not need to be increased, but concluded that existing buildings cannot be reconfigured to accommodate classroom sizes of 30 to 50 students.

SUNY Fredonia planners were highly impressed with the approach and attention to detail that Chan Krieger, one of 11 contractors serving the campus for the first time during 2011, exhibited.

“They were very thorough in getting the information that they needed, had very long meetings with user groups. Sometimes they were able to gather all the information from one meeting, other times they called three or four additional meetings to make sure they truly understood what the user groups’ needs were in their building spaces,” said Markus Kessler, director of Facilities Planning.

The report contains five sections – campus profile, assessment of conditions, analysis of space needs, master plan concept alternatives and recommendations – along with a lengthy appendix. Each section was 100 to 300 pages in length.

Critical maintenance issues were also addressed in the report. “They did not simply just walk through existing buildings,” Kessler said, “they got down-and-dirty, crawling into spaces that you and I would not crawl into so they could understand structural, mechanical and electrical issues.”

The six-person Chan Krieger team was always well prepared at presentations, provided options and gave insight into which directions that campus should follow, Kessler added.

Though not being from the region, the firm arrived on campus in August 2009 with a true understanding of the I.M. Pei/Henry A. Cobb architectural design created in the late 1960s, Kessler said. “They actually did their homework well in advance before they ever stepped foot on campus.”

The firm’s expertise in urban planning was also recognized by SUNY Fredonia. “They are not just an architectural firm, this is an architectural firm that also has urban planners,” Kessler said. “I think that intrigued us in the interviews. Urban planning is not an easy thing to do. They just didn’t view this as a campus with a bunch of buildings; they also viewed it as a small city.” A steering committee comprised of President Dennis Hefner, the university’s four vice presidents and the State University Construction Fund selected Chan Krieger from among five finalists.

Chan Krieger enlisted the services of a team of outside consultants to address key areas of higher education planning, cost estimates, structural engineering, landscape architecture and mechanical systems.

Though unable to attend the luncheon due to prior commitments, a member of the Chan Krieger campus master plan team expressed the firm’s appreciation for being selected for the honor in a letter read at the gathering.

“We found the facilities planning staff and their colleagues on the steering committee to have all the attributes of a great client – patience, collaboration and a commitment to making careful and intelligent decisions in the best interest of the college and the future of the campus,” the letter stated. It is the firm’s desire that the master facilities plan serves Fredonia well for years to come and contributes to the improvement and preservation of the campus environment and the institution as a whole.

The Contractor of the Year program recognizes contractors for their contributions to the quality of life and the physical appearance of the campus. Selection of award recipients is based on outstanding professionalism, overall performance, ability to deliver an outstanding finished product within the established time frame and budget and ability to adapt to changes that occur during the normal course of a project and offer creative solutions.

According to Acting Vice President Porpiglia, major “in the pipeline” projects include the new science center construction, Williams Center renovation, Maytum Hall rehabilitation and Fenton Hall exterior rehabilitation. They have a collective value of over $84 million. She credited President Hefner for securing the funding from Albany for these projects.

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