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Creating Langbee Hall

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, May 19, 2003

If Architecture + is unavailable to design Hudson Valley Community College's next capital improvement project, Hudson Valley President John Buono may want to consider hiring Instructor Sue Kilgallon's "Facility Layout and Design" class. Kilgallon's students are up to the task; they spent half of the recent spring term working in assigned teams to design an infill building that would connect Higbee Hall and Lang Building.

"This kind of hands-on experience is incredibly valuable," said Kilgallon at a recent showing of the students' work. (Kilgallon taught two sections of the class. Her husband, Adjunct Instructor Kevin Kilgallon, who also works as a project coordinator for the SUNY Construction Fund, taught an evening section.) "I'm a licensed architect who has been practicing for 20 years, and I patterned the students' experience after what they'd do in the real world. We used real-world resources to give them an idea of what will happen out there."

Anyone who's ever had to venture between Lang Building and Higbee Hall on a cold and rainy day can appreciate Kilgallon's idea of connecting the two buildings. Students tackling the assignment, however, faced a series of requirements:

  • Their infill building needed to have handicapped-accessible bathrooms;
  • They had to add elevator access to both the second floor and the bathroom of Higbee Hall;
  • Any new classrooms created in the infill building needed to seat 24 students; and
  • Any space that would be lost in Higbee Hall or Lang Building by the proposed construction had to be replaced with the infill building.

So the "Facility Layout and Design" students took tours of Higbee Hall and Lang Building. They studied existing CAD plans. They created questionnaires and distributed them to students, faculty and staff members. They utilized resources such as the New York State Building Code, the American National Standards Institute Standards for Accessibility, and Means for Cost Estimating. And then they tapped into their creative capabilities.

One group named its infill building Langbee Hall. Another revealed during its presentation that their new 46,204-square-foot building would cost the college $5.2 million (furnishings included). Many groups incorporated the contemporary stylings of Guenther Enrollment Services Center, featuring lots of glass in their design. Large lounge areas, for both students and faculty members, appeared on nearly every design.

\"Chad"Nothing beats an experience like this," said Chad Lagace, part of a student design team. "It's one thing to learn from a textbook, but it doesn't matter if you can't really do it. Hopefully this will help my portfolio, which will help me get a job."

"The students were very excited at the thought that maybe their building could actually be built," Kilgallon said. "And from a construction standpoint, their designs are practical and workable. They might need to be revised, but they certainly could be built."