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New Adirondack chairs will help create cozy spaces for students on campus

Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services, and UB staff and students enjoy some time in the sun painting Adirondack chairs that will be placed throughout the North and South campuses. Pictured, from left, are Brian Ravinsky, Linsey Graff, Minahil Khan, Andreina Rosario, Black, Bobby Fera and Sean Kaczmarek. Photo: Douglas Levere

By SUE WUETCHER

Published July 30, 2015

“Using Canalside as a benchmark, we wanted to find a low-cost way to impact some of our vast green spaces on both the North and South campuses.”
Linsey Graff, architectural planner
Capital Planning Group

They’ve proven to be a hit on Buffalo’s burgeoning waterfront, providing a spot for visitors at Canalside to sit and watch the world go by.

Those iconic, colorful Adirondack chairs soon will become part of the UB landscape through a university plan to enhance the student experience by creating small, comfortable spaces throughout the campuses.

The university has purchased 140 chairs that have been assembled by Facilities Operations staff and are being “adopted” and painted by volunteers in units across the campuses, including Student Life, the Capital Planning Group, the Health Sciences Library, Environmental Health and Safety, Human Resources and University Life and Services.

The chairs are being painted in UB-oriented colors and feature the interlocking UB logo.

Once finished, the seating will be placed in high-traffic areas on the North and South campuses. Among the locations are the Promenade, Hamilton Loop, Knox Hall, Clemens Hall and adjacent to Lake LaSalle on the North Campus and Abbott Hall on the South Campus.

“Using Canalside as a benchmark, we wanted to find a low-cost way to impact some of our vast green spaces on both the North and South campuses,” says Linsey Graff, architectural planner with the Capital Planning Group. “These chairs are meant to be flexible and moved to fit the needs of students at any specific time — as a single lounge chair for enjoying the sun, arranged in a circle for a group meeting or outdoor class,” or any other uses students might have, she says.

The chairs are expected to be placed around campus in August “for everyone to enjoy,” she adds.

The “Adirondack Chairs” project is one of several being implemented as a result of a recommendation from the Student Experience Task Force — one of several task forces to emerge from Realizing UB 2020 — to improve the UB experience for students by developing small, comfortable spaces throughout the campuses.

The administration has allocated $250,000 over three years for the “Small Facility and Grounds Spaces” initiative, says Kelly Hayes McAlonie, director of the Capital Planning Group. Her team is designing and implementing the initiative, which is being coordinated by Vice President for University life and Services Dennis R. Black.

“We can make our large campus seem more welcoming one small place at a time, and that’s what we are doing," he said.

Graff explains that individual projects are located in high-traffic areas that will benefit students from multiple academic programs; in underutilized, inactive and outdated spaces; and in spaces that build on existing university initiatives, such as the Heart of the Campus.

Besides Adirondack Chairs, four other projects are underway:

  • New canoes, paddleboats and stand-up paddleboards have been purchased for the boat launch at Lake LaSalle; a nine-hole disc golf course is scheduled to open in early August.
  • The Park Hall lobby and the Lockwood Corridor — the high-traffic hallway outside Lockwood Library and the Cybrary, and including the Baldy walkway — will receive new paint and furniture for the start of the fall semester. 
  • The Capital Planning Group has commissioned artist Michael Beitz, MFA ’09, to create unique pieces of functional art for outdoor spaces on both the North and South campuses. The pieces will be installed during the spring 2016 semester.
  • Abbott Hall will gain a new café on the first floor in partnership with Campus Dining and Shops, as well as additional study space on the third floor with the removal of some stacks and addition of new furniture.

Graff points out that the funding commitment for the “small spaces” initiative is for three years, so “we will soon be reaching out to academic and administrative units looking for project ideas for future years.”

“We are very excited about the impact these small space projects will have on the UB experience,” McAlonie says.

READER COMMENT

These look great on South Campus -- nice job!

 

Jennifer Hess