Last October, there were reports of fire pits being placed around the quad of Utica College to give students something to do during the winter months while also maintaining safe social distancing. However, as of the middle of March the fire pit project has not started.
Scott Nonemaker, interim dean of students, said senior administration confirmed that the college is working with the Oneida County Fire Marshall and its insurance provider to install permanent outdoor fire pits.
“We have been asked to look at potentially safer outdoor fireplace designs and specific areas where they can be safely enjoyed by the entire campus,” he said.
While the fire pits will not be installed just yet, some students hope that they will become available sooner rather than later.
“I would like to see the fire pits installed by next semester, but the latest I would like to see them is at least before next winter,” said Benjamin Petrison, a freshman studying cybersecurity. “Those fire pits are a great idea towards being able to hang with friends from different halls if certain COVID-19 regulations are still in place, especially during the winter.”
Many students agree that the fire pits would be a great addition to the campus and add a bonus activity during the cold weather months. However, they realize safety is a priority.
“I would rather wait and see them appear later if it means that everything is set and ok to go,” said Connor Canell, a freshman studying wellness and adventure education. “While it would be nice to get them sooner since we could use them to meet new people, it’s better to wait until everything is set up accordingly.”