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$30M Renovations on the way to SUNY Cortland’s Largest Residence

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(Photo: SUNY Cortland)

A $30 million project breaks ground this spring to renovate SUNY Cortland’s largest student residence building: The 10-story, 147,000 sq ft Smith and Casey Tower complex.

School officials say the goal of the project is to make the facility more modern, comfortable and energy efficient for the more than 500 students who occupy it each semester.

Bedrooms and corridors are now in for quite the facelift, including fresh paint and finishes, the installation of energy efficient LED lighting and modernized bathrooms with low-flow faucets and toilets to conserve water.

Prior to this year, the first two floors of Casey and Smith were last renovated in 2009.

Come spring, the first-floor entry and lobby will be completely remodeled, including the addition of moveable walls that will allow for events of various sizes to be held.

Another small lounge with kitchenette will be added to this floor, as well.

(Photo: SUNY Cortland)

Lounges on the upper floors of both towers will also be upgraded with modern kitchenettes, while floors 9-10 will add new laundry facilities.

New exterior windows will also be fitted on floors 3-10 to improve comfort and energy efficiency of the complex.

Individual units on floors 3-10 will get new doors, as well as power and data upgrades in all bedrooms.

Fire protection system enhancements to those upper floors will include a full-coverage sprinkler system throughout and fire alarm upgrades.

Two new HVAC units are being installed on the roof to optimize ventilation and ensure healthy building conditions, and crews will also put in new high-efficiency boilers.

“This project marks the completion of an extensive upgrading and construction effort, made possible by DASNY and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, aimed at improving all of SUNY Cortland’s student resident halls,” SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum said. “When it is done, all of our on-campus student apartments will be completely modern, energy efficient and competitive with residences available at more expensive, private colleges.”

Construction will begin this spring and is expected to be completed by August 2021, according to Martin Edgington, associate project coordinator and campus engineer.

He also said the first-year, transfer and upper-level students who lived in Casey last fall vacated their dorms at the end of the semester, allowing that half of the complex to be finished around July and reoccupied next fall.

Edgington said its that natural shedding of students that makes this timetable possible.

“A lot of students were looking to be there just the one semester,” he continued. “That’s because many of Casey’s fall occupants graduated in December or will study abroad this spring, or were transfer students granted permission to move off campus after just one semester, he explained. Natural vacancies elsewhere on campus have made room for any remaining former residents.”

That same process will repeat with Smith Tower at the end of 2020.


Renovations at Casey and Smith towers are being financed and managed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), the state’s capital project development authority.

Funds are provided through the SUNY Dormitory Facilities Program, through which DASNY issues low-cost, tax-exempt bonds supported by student residence hall fees.

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