By: Maria Giovanna Jumper
This photo features the new lobby of the University Center. Provided by the UCprogress page on the Adelphi website.
Although the official opening of the University Center (UC) has been pushed back to spring 2021 due to Covid-19-related delays, some facilities will open this semester, including the new Starbucks, bookstore, improved lobby area and ballroom.
As of the August update finishing touches were being done on the second and third floors of the building. These meeting spaces should be finished up soon with the main work left being on the first floor and outside. On the second floor, the Thomas Dixon Lovely Ballroom is being fitted with a new acoustical ceiling made from sustainable material, and the flooring is ready for installation. The lower level of the building is also in its final stage. The UC’s dining area will be in this section and is nearing completion.
“The dining area’s serving stations are finished, as well as its décor featuring Adelphi’s signature gold,” according to the August 31 UC progress update.
The staircase leading to the first floor is also almost completed. The handrails and stair landing were installed the first week of September.
The outdoor and first floor spaces are where much of the work lies moving forward. The new, full-service Starbucks is complete and the art gallery and Follet bookstore are still being worked on. For the bookstore, the storefront glass of the bookstore was also recently installed.
The amphitheater is beginning to take shape, even after the recent gas leak that was immediately taken care of. The electrical and plumbing work are finished; the next step is installing the pavers.
Although the different areas are nearing completion, the Panthers’ Den will continue to be the main dining hall on campus.
Wendy Goldstein, the executive communication specialist for the UC project, said, “Certain areas will be opened during the fall semester, with dining services in the UC opening next semester. The construction team is putting finishing touches on the area that will be able to open, and the move-in of furniture will start soon.”
As the finishing touches are nearing completion a date for partial opening should be out soon. As of September 22, Goldstein said, “We were notified by the Village of Garden City that a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) was approved for the Ruth S. Harley University Center. This monumental step signified that the majority of the work is complete and that the building meets or exceeds all Building Department, Health Department and Fire Marshall Codes and all Life Safety and ADA requirements have been met.”
Only specific staff members may enter the building under the TCO. This allows for furniture delivery and final set up to take place. Once all of that is done and a full Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is issued then students, guests or visitors will be able to enter the building.
Furniture deliveries began being accepted on September 28. Unfortunately, not all the furniture can be installed at this time due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Goldstein said, “The furniture was planned and ordered before the COVID-19 pandemic started. The rest of the furniture [those that haven’t been delivered yet] will be held in storage until such time as we can safely install it.”
Additionally, during the week of September 28, the fencing and scrims around the building started being removed. This allows for workers to complete landscaping tasks, although barriers remain near walkway areas and detours also still remain as the building is not yet open.
There will not be a large re-opening event held in person, but there will be a virtual event that will be live-streamed on Facebook. A date is still being determined.
According to Goldstein, the fall opening of the UC will include a new “reimagined” lobby area, a new and improved Adelphi Bookstore and spirit shop, multiple sun-lit student lounges, a new Center for Student Involvement (CSI) suite, gender-neutral single-person restrooms and traditional men’s and women’s restrooms with changing tables in each, a private lactation room, “a stunning recreation” of the Ballroom, a “spacious, well-lit” Interfaith Center, and an outdoor amphitheater. The modern dining area that will be the entirety of the newly expanded lower level will open in Spring 2021.
You can check out the UC Progress page on the Adelphi website to learn more about the project and its progress. Additionally, there is a photo gallery with pictures of all of the progress.