by Brian Ponte and Victoria Fennell
After breaking ground in April 2018, construction of the Wayback is virtually complete, with twenty early-arrival students moved in.
“We have a temporary certificate of occupancy, which means that all life safety systems are functioning and we passed all inspections, so it’s a safe building to live in and work in,” said Mario Rapetti, Assistant Dean of Student Life.
One of the students already living in the Wayback, Andrew Miranda, a sophomore Theater and Performance major, has had positive things to say about his experience thus far.
“It looks like a hotel with beautiful rooms and beautiful detailing,” Miranda said. “The single is a bit smaller than I expected, but with some rearranging I made it work.”
One of several construction projects at Purchase College, the completion of the Wayback seeks to drastically transform the area between Fort Awesome and Big Haus. The grassy area and walkway now connecting the three residence halls lends a new sense of community to a once seemingly-fragmented section of the campus.
“Most students were hanging out the front of the Fort, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens back here,” Rapetti said. “We’ll see what type of environment starts forming now that we have three hundred residents over here.”
Over the coming year, Rapetti plans to monitor the growth of the new area to see what features may need to be added, noting that an interesting aspect of campus life is “seeing how communities form.”
The building’s interior is mostly complete, with the remaining work being done in hallways and the main lobby which, when completed, will include a game room and kitchen area.
The kitchen itself includes a microwave, refrigerator, and stove top which residents will share. A separate entrance has also been constructed for students to store their bicycles.
As for the suites, the only remaining issue seemed to be the card access. Eventually students will be able to unlock their doors using their More Cards and an accompanying PIN, but as of right now, students are using hard keys to get in. Rapetti plans to have the card key system in place by the weekend.
Each suite has a small area near its entrance, furnished with chairs, which Rapetti hopes will encourage socialization within the suites. The two singles, and one double bedroom in each suite contain individual thermostats, overhead lighting, and bed bug-resistant mattresses.
“I think what we have to realize is that this is not an apartment community so we didn’t create kitchens or living rooms,” Rapetti said of the common areas. “we created small outlets of your bedroom to expand the community.”
In addition to the areas in each suite, each floor also contains a much larger study lounge, with couches, tables, and a TV. The hallway lights are equipped with motion sensors as part of initiatives to make the Wayback more environmentally conscious.
An area which has been a source of some controversy at Purchase College is compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The design of the Wayback took this into account as a “big priority” during construction, with 16 ADA compliant suites and three single rooms for disabled students who may require additional assistance. In contrast, other residence halls at Purchase have between three and five accessible units each.
The start of the new semester marks the completion of several construction projects throughout the campus, but Rapetti is conscious of some work that still needs to be done.
“We know that some of our buildings are older, but we’ve been doing a great job, as a college, keeping up with renovations,” Rapetti said. “I think a lot of students returning to campus this year are going to feel the difference.”