STEPHAN UNGER/THE STATESMAN
Students were disappointed to hear that Phase 1 of the Toll Drive construction project would not be complete for their arrival this fall. The residence hall (above), renamed Chávez Hall, will be home to over 300 students once it opens. STEPHAN UNGAR/THE STATESMAN

Students who planned to move into the new building at Toll Drive next semester may have to wait longer than originally expected.

“Though work continues at a rapid pace on what will be your new residence, now identified as Chávez Hall, named in honor of labor and civil rights leader César Chávez, it appears that the building may not be ready for occupancy by August 8th,” said Campus Residences in an email sent to the building’s future denizens on Wednesday.

The announcement, which reiterated statements made in a previous email sent out June 3, assured students who secured a spot in the building during Phase I of the process that they would be guaranteed temporary housing and would receive more information regarding their new room assignments in a few days.

“I was very excited to move in until I found out that it might not be done in time,” junior chemical engineering major Jessica Hofflich said.

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Construction for the building began in the summer of 2014 and has been separated into two phases. Once Phase I of the Toll Drive construction project is complete, Chávez Hall will be home to 302 students, according to Campus Residences. Each suite will be comprised of four or five single bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

In addition to Chávez Hall, Phase I will also give way to a new 60,000-square-foot dining facility. After both phases of the $168 million construction project are complete, there will be 759 new beds in total, according to Associate Director of Campus Residences Alan DeVries.

“Adding the new residence halls to the campus will help manage the growing demand for campus on-campus [sic] housing for new and continuing students,” DeVries wrote in a statement.

Hofflich and her suitemate, junior sustainability studies major Christina Giordanella, both had a relatively hassle-free room selection process when choosing to live in a gender neutral suite, so they were upset once they realized that moving into Chávez Hall wouldn’t be as simple as they had originally thought.

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“I thought it was just a rumor,” Giordanella said. “I was hoping that it was just cautionary and they had an idea that it’d probably be finished but they had to let us know just in case.”

On the other hand, sophomore biomedical engineering major Shane Harris said he was not shocked by the announcement.

“I didn’t assume that we’d be able to move in right away because I saw how things were being built while I was at school,” he said.

Despite this, Harris said he still feels lucky to have even secured a spot in Chávez since most of his peers with the same credit standing did not.

“If it’s not ready, then Stony Brook will be able to handle the situation. I guess I’m a little more optimistic than most people,” Harris said with a laugh.

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Although some may be taking the news better than others, there appears to be a consistent sense of confusion among future residents. Prior to the email sent this week, students said the only form of communication they had with the school was the initial email in June.

“They should be updating us a little more often than they’re doing right now,” Harris said, adding that providing a list of answers to frequently asked questions would have helped to clear up some of the confusion.

“I understand that they can’t control the construction and the pace of that, but I feel like they should have sent out another email giving us an update,” Giordanella said.

One of Giordanella’s main concerns was the university’s lack of transparency when it came to pricing. Both Hofflich and Giordanella said that information about the price of a room in Chávez wasn’t made available until after they had already secured a spot in the building. Both girls said that the price, $5,046 per semester, was higher than they had hoped, especially considering that Chávez is not a cooking dorm.

“It could cause an issue with billing as well because if we’re not living there for the whole semester, it’s not really fair to charge us that price for the whole semester,” said Giordanella, who added that she had already been billed for the full price of the room.

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1 comment

  1. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. It was the same story way, way, way back in the early 1970s, when you were never really sure when any construction would actually finish (or if, once finished, the place would be habitable). Some things just never change at Stony Brook.

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