Dr. Geoffrey Brackett builds a path to success

 

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Taken at construction site on Marist College campus

For years now Marist College has been known for its grey stone buildings with red brick accents and the ever-evolving infrastructures on campus. Most students currently at Marist College would agree that the campus has changed significantly since their freshman year. From the major renovation of the Student Center, to the brand new dorms on North Campus and the science and allied health building across the way of Route 9.

Many of the recent construction has been done under the watchful eye of Dr. Geoffery L. Brackett, who serves as Executive Vice President of the school since August 2010. He has overseen projects around campus that include the Student Center, Lowell Thomas Communication Building, the McCann Arena and even the pedestrian walkway under Route 9. With so much construction constantly occurring, many students wonder how the school decides what gets renovated next. Luckily, Dr. Brackett was able to answer all these questions and even discuss some of the projects expected to be done this school year, and what freshman now can hope to expect by the time they graduate.

“For us, we are driven by what is best for the students and what is best for the school, that is how we decide what projects get taken on next,” said Dr. Brackett. This year will see the completion of the two-phase, $130 million project taking place on North Campus, what is now the new dorm buildings formally known as Gartland. By the end of the construction, the campus will have four dormitory buildings that will be able to house nearly 800 students. Dr. Brackett said, “The goal for Marist is to not just end its lease agreement with the Residence Inn but to also house around 70-80% of the traditional undergraduate students.”

With such large projects both in size and monetary value, there comes a lot of pressure for someone in Dr. Brackett’s position. This is especially true when many of the deadlines revolve around the school’s schedule. “It takes extensive planning, immense pressure and a good planning board to get these projects done the best way possible,” said Dr. Brackett. Because the team of people who oversee all the projects getting done is not a large one, Dr. Brackett depends heavily on others like Justin Butwell, Director of Physical Plant to get the many jobs done right.

In all the planning that gets done, there is a 5-year projection of what projects might be undertaken according to Dr. Brackett. While the board makes most of the decisions with the student’s best interest in mind, they have already started to discuss the ideas of renovating Dyson (School of Business), the Steel Plant, which would combine the Fashion program and the Art programs into a new building and continuing to update different parts of Donnelly. “Students can expect a continued increase in academic infrastructure,” said Dr. Brackett when asked what the class of 2020 should look forward to throughout their stay on campus. To answer many student’s question about Donnelly’s future, one of the oldest buildings on campus, Brackett said not to worry yet, because it will not being going anywhere, not at least for another 10 years.

During the interview Dr. Brackett did make it a point to say that among many of the projects he has overseen, what he is excited about is the brand new bathrooms and lounge area in Donnelly. All inspired by his time spent in airports, saying “I wanted to recreate people’s experience waiting for a plane in a lounge area and have that in Donnelly.” Since most people are spending a large amount of time waiting for planes, many of the waiting areas are designed to keep guests comfortable with bigger chairs, USB ports and why not have that at Marist College. He didn’t have to look anywhere else for inspiration but at the airports, which have been hosting guests for many years now.

Finally, Dr. Brackett went over the design of all the new construction, and to no surprise, the grey stone and red brick accent that can be seen on the majority of the campus buildings. What he did say though was that like the library in the center of campus that is slightly different than other new construction, to expect minor variations of the grey stone and red brick as construction continues. The goal is to not necessarily make every building look the same but to have each one resemble the original Greystone Hall in some capacity, (home of Dr. Brackett’s and President Yellen’s office) located in between the library and Marian Hall.

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