Last week marked the beginning of the end for construction of Quinnipiac’s new Polling Institute. After over a year of construction, the building, which is located adjacent to the Westwoods parking lot, finally received its certificate of occupancy from the town of Hamden. The certificate allows for people to legally enter the building.
Construction began as early as the summer of 2006 with an approximate finish date of July 2007, but after a series of unforeseen circumstances construction was delayed.
Joe Rubertone, the associate vice president for facilities administration, has overseen the project from the beginning and is displeased with the delay.
“I thought we should’ve finished it earlier but again you know. the university changed plans, we changed the size of the building,” Rubertone said. “The Polling Institute has been an interesting project because we were retro fitting it into an existing building. There have just been a series of unforeseen circumstances that have caused the delay and there are half a dozen of them, it’s not a matter of just one.”
Pending some minor detailing, the building should be ready to be moved into by the end of October.
“Some touching up still needs to be done. but the vital infrastructure of the building is working: the heat, the lights, all of the stairs, all exit signs, all of the emergency lighting, all of that, anything critical to the operation of the building,” Rubertone said.
April Radocchio, associate director of the Quinnipiac University Poll who oversees data collection and analysis, is eager to move into the new building.
“It’s a little bit of a disappointment, but it is construction and that’s the way construction goes. If you have any experience with it at all, you realize that and you go with it. We’re just working around it, planning around it, and very excited about getting in. We had a tour last week and it’s beautiful. It’s worth the wait,” Radocchio said.
The new building has a total of 155 polling stations, which doubles the current 76 stations the Polling Institute has. The increased number of stations will enable the institute to conduct more polls at one time and poll a larger sample for each poll.
“That’s the whole goal. We will have the ability to conduct four polls at a time,” Radocchio said.
And we will likely be doing that pretty much from the time we move in until the time of elections,”
Another key attribute of the new institution is size. The new building has two separate polling rooms, a conference room, a break room for employees and a second floor of offices.
“It’s bigger. We are doubling our capacity so we can do more polls with larger samples, larger questionnaires. If there’s a breaking news event it allows us to jump into the field even if we’re doing another poll,” said Doug Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac Poll.
“The move will also bring us all together under one roof. Right now we poll in two different buildings,” Radocchio said.
The current Polling Institute is divided between two locations, the main building at 560 New Road and the second at 513 Mount Carmel Ave. Once the move into the new building is complete the New Road building will be turning into Quinnipiac’s new Hillel Center. 513 Mount Carmel Ave. already has students living in the second floor of the house, and once the basement is cleared out it will turn into an official university owned residence.
“[513 Mount Carmel] is a single family residence that happens to be on the campus. It’s not a separate piece of property. We’re going to want to call it a residence hall, once we name it – it will allow for more people to live there,” Rubertone said. “560 New Rd. will be the new Hillel center. WQUN has moved out already. They’re now located at 3085 Whitney Ave.”
Radocchio also said that with the move comes an upgrade with the software. “We will be conducting our surveys over the internet, all of the data collection will be web based and the interviewers will be working over the internet using voice over IP, so we will be an entirely web based calling center.”
With the increase in size, capability, and power comes an increase in the work force. The new institute is going be hiring a large amount of new employees. Radocchio said to maintain 155 stations they will probably need a total of 250 employees. They currently have about 150.
Even though delays caused some disheartening feelings among those waiting to move into the building, the architecture makes up for it. Wyeth Architects, the architect hired for this project, made sure the building had the important components necessary to function as well as aesthetic appeal.
“It’s beautiful. I mean you can see we’ve been working out of a basement here and the other place across campus is another basement. This is designed from the ground up, for us… so it’s very nice,” Radocchio said.
Director of the Quinnipiac poll agrees, “I haven’t seen the finished product but what I have seen looks great. We’re excited to be moving into the new facility. I think it will be great for us.”