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College’s Scales Hall To Undergo Contemporary, Sustainable Renovation

A rendering from King + King Architects shows the new-look façade of SUNY Oswego's Scales Hall following a $13.1 million renovation of the residence hall to begin in December, with scheduled completion in July.

A rendering from King + King Architects shows the new-look façade of SUNY Oswego's Scales Hall following a $13.1 million renovation of the residence hall to begin in December, with scheduled completion in July.

OSWEGO — Scales Hall, at 55 years old the last of four SUNY Oswego residence halls built on the Lakeside area of campus, will follow in the footsteps of Waterbury Hall, undergoing a $13.1 million renovation scheduled to begin Dec. 19.

A rendering from King + King Architects shows the new-look façade of SUNY Oswego's Scales Hall following a $13.1 million renovation of the residence hall to begin in December, with scheduled completion in July.
A rendering from King + King Architects shows the new-look façade of SUNY Oswego’s Scales Hall following a $13.1 million renovation of the residence hall to begin in December, with scheduled completion in July.

The project should be done by July 1, following completion of work by Oswego-based general contractor PAC Associates, the same company that renovated Waterbury in 2014-15.

The completed renovation will increase Scales’ capacity to house students from about 200 to approximately 210.

“Seven months is a pretty aggressive schedule,” said Mitch Fields, associate vice president for facilities at SUNY Oswego. “Most of our sister colleges take a year to do this kind of project.”

But due to the college’s strong enrollment and demand for on-campus housing, “we just can’t afford to not have the beds for the fall semester of 2017,” he added.

With the completion of Scales, all four lakeside residence halls will have been renovated in the last 13 years. Johnson Hall was renovated in 2003 and Riggs Hall in 2007.

The upgraded Scales Hall will feature a contemporary design very similar to that of Waterbury. King + King Architects of Syracuse, the same architectural firm that designed Waterbury, also designed Scales’ modernization. Scales will have pod-style bathrooms providing privacy for toilets and showers, as well as new furniture, a kitchen on every floor, new lounges on the second and third floors and a new computer lab, said Scales Hall Director Myles Clendenin.

The renovation will include many updates to comply with the SUNY-wide policy that all new buildings and renovations need to comply with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. SUNY Oswego pursues a higher goal for all campus buildings: LEED Gold certification.

A passive cooling system will cut down on costs by pulling in the cool air over Lake Ontario to circulate throughout Scales Hall.

The air over the lake is typically 10 degrees cooler than the air on land, Fields said.

Recycled materials will be used throughout the project, such as repurposed wood for the exterior, he said. Energy-efficient mechanical systems will be put in place in the main boiler room.

Students’ ideas

When it came to the design of Scales Hall, Fields said suggestions were taken from students through surveys done by Residence Life and Housing.

Former Waterbury resident Aran Kilcoyne appreciated the administration’s openness to student suggestions. “If we had suggestions or complaints about the building they were all listened to and often actions were made to solve the problems,” she said.

The students who currently live in Scales will have to move out of the building in December, though about 70 are leaving campus. Clendenin said Residence Life and Housing tried to place students who would not be returning to campus for the spring semester into Scales.

The 130 students who will remain on campus were given a first-preference survey to choose a new hall to live in.

Once Residence Life and Housing determines how many rooms will be vacant for the spring semester, it will begin placing the Scales residents. SUNY Oswego has hired a moving company to help students move their belongings to their new rooms over winter break, Clendenin said.

Sophomore Brandon Cortes chose to live in Scales for the fall semester because he wanted the experience of living with many of the international students who were placed in the building.

Cortes said his first choice residence hall for the spring semester is Hart Hall Global Living and Learning Center.

Clendenin said many students have said they will miss Scales’ community environment.

“Scales feels like home to a lot of people and people don’t want to lose their sense of home,” he said. “But I always tell students it’s not just the building that makes a place a home; it’s the students and the people that make it a home. I hope that the students who come back next year really try to instill that home atmosphere.”