New 225-occupant residence hall opens at SUNY New Paltz

SUNY New Paltz president Donald Christian cuts the ribbon  at the grand opening celebration of the campus's newest dorm called Ridgeview Hall. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

SUNY New Paltz president Donald Christian cuts the ribbon at the grand opening celebration of the campus’s newest dorm called Ridgeview Hall. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

SUNY New Paltz held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, August 11 to officially open its newest student residence. Ridgeview Hall, a three-story, 69,000-square-foot structure built at a cost of $33 million, will provide on-campus housing for 225 undergraduates. Inaugural residents include first-year, transfer and returning students.

Ridgeview Hall is the 14th residence hall on campus. According to college president Donald Christian, the addition of the new building reflects the university’s responsiveness to the New Paltz community, which has long requested that the school provide more on-campus housing to reduce the pressure on the supply of local housing. Ridgeview Hall increases the total housing capacity on campus to accommodate approximately 50 percent of the university’s undergraduate enrollment.

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“Ridgeview is a modern living and learning space,” said Christian. “We refer to our residence halls in that way rather than as dormitories, which conveys the notion of a place where you just come to sleep. These are really living and learning areas and will offer more students the opportunity to be involved in campus life.”

New Paltz still has the smallest residence hall bed capacity among all SUNY campuses statewide.

The initial planning for the new residence hall began in 2008, said Christian, with bonding requested in 2011 to finance the project. With bonding approved in 2013, groundbreaking occurred in December of that year with the building meeting its projected August 2015 opening date.

The project wouldn’t have happened without the advocacy of state Senator John Bonacic and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, Christian added, noting that both men worked with their colleagues in state government to remove residence hall bonding caps from the overall state bond limits, resulting in the college’s ability to move forward with the project. Senator Bonacic spoke at the ribbon-cutting, noting that his own daughter received a master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz. “I truly believe that SUNY New Paltz is the gem of the SUNY system,” he said. “And every year that gem gets brighter and brighter.”

 

Features of the new residence hall

Located on the southwest end of campus between the Athletic and Wellness Center and Lenape and Esopus Halls, Ridgeview Hall has amenities that include a café and gathering space, a seminar room, a faculty apartment, quiet study lounges, Skype rooms and a view of New Paltz’s iconic Shawangunk Ridge. The building’s café will also benefit students living in the nearby Lenape and Esopus halls, who currently have to go to the other side of the campus for meals.

The building’s design is intended to accommodate students’ requests for heightened privacy while conserving energy. Fully air conditioned and heated, the building uses a hydronic system and employs water saving technology where practical. The building earned Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Ridgeview Hall features residential wings organized in clusters of four double beds around two private bathrooms. Large windows have been incorporated into all of the bedrooms and public spaces to make the most of natural light and to provide views.

Pedestrian and vehicular circulation have been separated on the site to promote safety and walkability. Pedestrian walkways along South Road have been designed to connect the building with the main campus, and a bus stop across from the new residence hall will provide easy access to public transportation. Bicycle storage is provided inside the building and under exterior canopies to promote alternative transportation.

A centrally located elevator provides accessibility to all floors of the building, although its placement is downplayed in order to promote physical activity through use of the stairs. Laundry facilities and trash and recycling collection are in the basement.

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