Dear SUNY New Paltz alumni:
We would like to provide you with an update on the renovation project for College/Shango Hall, a building that holds a significant place in our University's history and in the hearts of so many of our alumni. Throughout this process, SUNY New Paltz has been mindful of preserving the legacy of this structure and is actively seeking input from various stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, the Diversity & Inclusion Council, and the broader New Paltz community.
College/Shango Hall, built in multiple phases during the 1950s, currently serves both residential and academic purposes. It is a testament to our institution's rich history, and we understand the sentimental value it holds for our alumni, particularly through the murals displayed on its walls. The building in its current condition is not providing the usable space, functionality or meeting the needs for students, faculty or staff. Regrettably, as we embarked on this process of renovating this aging building, we faced the challenging reality that preserving the delicate murals in their current state is not feasible within the construction process. They are painted directly on the walls, and in large part because of the nature of the wall material, it is not possible to preserve them physically.
Nonetheless, we are committed to finding ways to honor these works of art and ensure their legacy. We have digitally preserved them through photography and plan to convene a committee consisting of faculty, staff, students, and alumni to explore various options for documenting the history and potentially recreating these pieces. Additionally, we will engage an art historian in the coming months to assess the murals before moving forward.
We are also pleased to share that the State University Construction Fund has awarded funding for the renovation of College/Shango Hall. The project is currently in the design phase, with construction scheduled to begin after the spring semester of 2025. A team of campus community members has been formed to develop plans that will provide our student body with new and exciting spaces for the decades ahead. That committee includes:
- College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Dean Laura Barrett
- Assistant Vice President for Facilities & Operations Gail Beltrone
- EIT Accessibility Officer Kate Bohan
- Director of Alumni Relations Chris Brown
- Associate Chair of the Art Department David Cavallaro
- Assistant Provost for Budget & Administration Deb Gould
- Vice President for Administration & Finance Michele Halstead
- Campus Architect Jeff Lewis
- Instructional Support Rich McElrath
- Chair of the Black Studies Department Weldon McWilliams
- Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Patterson
- Director of Design & Construction Megan Smailer
- Director of the Honors Program Patricia Sullivan
- Senior Associate Director of Editorial & Media Relations Chrissie Williams
We encourage you to stay tuned for further updates as our plans progress. College/Shango Hall's transformation is an exciting and important endeavor for our University, and we value your continued support and engagement as we work to preserve its legacy and create spaces that will serve SUNY New Paltz students well.
Darrell P. Wheeler
Vice President for Administration & Finance
Director of Alumni Relations