Published May 10, 2019
Faculty and staff members attending a pre-construction “town hall” meeting on One World Café yesterday learned work will begin May 20 on the newest addition to the UB North Campus.
Members of the One World Café steering committee spoke to the group, gathered in The Buffalo Room on the ground floor of Capen Hall, about the disruptions faculty, staff and students can expect to see over the summer and during the project’s two-year construction period.
“The construction of One World Café will affect everyone on the North Campus,” said Graham Hammill, vice provost for educational affairs and dean of the Graduate School.
“There is no getting around that it will be a long and arduous process,” said Hammill, who also chairs the steering committee. “Members of the steering committee and our construction manager, Turner Construction, will be doing everything we can to communicate what will be happening, when and where, to those who will be directly affected.”
He noted that Rhonda Ransom, Facilities Design and Construction project manager, also will be providing information to the university community.
“We will be in touch with those of you who are located in Norton and ground, first and second floor here in Capen Hall,” said Ransom. “We are focusing on areas that will be immediately impacted this summer, and faculty and staff are our key audiences right now.”
She said that the asbestos abatement on the first floor of Capen that was mentioned in the email notices for the town hall will not be lengthy. “We expect to have it completed by mid-June,” she said.
“Also in June, construction barriers will be going up on the north and south sides of Capen and Norton,” Ransom told the group. “So we are seeking information about groups that will be impacted in the short term by this. Please let me know.”
Peter McCarthy, project architect and an associate vice president with CannonDesign, began his presentation by explaining where the construction would be taking place.
“The construction footprint will occupy both sides of Capen,” McCarthy said. “Fencing and barriers will be within Hamilton Loop on the north and Founders Plaza on the south side.
“This is one of the most heavily trafficked areas on this campus,” said McCarthy, who holds a master’s degree in architecture from the UB School of Architecture and Planning.
“We plan to maintain circulation through this area, which is critical to the campus. Entry points to the construction area will be carefully chosen.”
Responding to a question regarding handicapped accessibility to Norton and Capen halls during the construction process, McCarthy said it will be maintained where it is now, adding that current elevator access on both sides of the site also will be maintained.
“Additionally, within One World Café there will be a new elevator to take people from the first floor to the second floor. It will be fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design,” he told the group.
McCarthy said another key One World Café goal has been to address student desires for improved campus wayfinding.
“Wayfinding has been a big focus of ours throughout this project,” he said. “One World Café is designed to make use of new and old, underutilized spaces.
“One example, on the north side, is we are repurposing an underutilized staircase there — which is familiar to everyone. This will be turned into a grand staircase and entryway to that side of One World Café.”
Hammill noted that the staircase, going up three levels, also fits another key goal for One World Café.
“That is, to offer the campus community flexible space, with more areas for students to study and engage with one another and with faculty for informal studying and informal social interaction,” he said.
“The voices of students, along with other members of the campus community, have made a real difference in how One World Café has been designed. From the inception of this project, students have served on the planning committee, as well as the communications committee.
“One World Café is designed to increase food capacity on campus — which is much-needed — while promoting UB’s mission in international education,” he said. “This project has been truly collaborative in nature and we look forward to presenting One World Café to the university.”