By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — Hartwick College will start a $3.4 million project this month to renovate and expand its Dewar Union student center to meet social and fitness needs of the campus community, a spokeswoman said.
The 14,800-square-foot project will include remodeling the current Stack Lounge in Dewar Union and adding a state-of-the-art exercise facility, a media release from the Oneonta college said. Construction work is expected to begin within days, media relations manager Valerie Capullo said, and is expected to be complete this calendar year.
The renovation project includes creating a 7,500-square-foot “living room’’ area for students to use as a social, recreational, gathering and study space, the release said. The William V. Campbell Fitness Center will be a 7,276-square-foot addition, an exercise facility designed to meet the needs of all members of the Hartwick community.
“Health and academic success are interrelated,” Meg Nowak, vice president for student affairs, said in the release. “To achieve our educational mission, our students need to be healthy physically, mentally and socially. Designed with students in mind, the Dewar Student Union serves as the focal point of campus activity — a multifunctional place for students, fusing student life and recreational activities.”
Capullo said the college’s dining hall, known as The Commons, and the Table Rock Café will remain in Dewar Union.
Dewar Union was built in 1954, and students contributed ideas toward renovations, officials said.
“In anticipation of this project, we conducted focus groups and surveys of students to learn more about what campus development was most important to them,” Hartwick College President Margaret L. Drugovich said in the release. “The need for a gathering space on campus emerged.’’
The late Dr. James Elting introduced William V. Campbell to Hartwick College and Oneonta.
Principal project donor Campbell agreed that the new fitness center and lounge space will create a welcoming area for the Hartwick community, the release said. Campbell, chairman of the board directors of Intuit Inc., received an honorary degree from Hartwick in 2010.
“I fell in love with Hartwick from one visit,” Campbell said in the release. “It was such an upbeat visit. I loved the layout, the energy of the students ... I could tell it was a very special place.’’
The Oneonta Planning Commission approved the college’s site plan for the project in January. Additional funding for the project will come from individual donors and local entities including The Dewar Foundation, located in Oneonta.
Hartwick, a private liberal arts and sciences college, enrolls about 1,500 students.