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Comprehensive campus construction announced

By Jacob Fischler
On April 21, 2010

The uptown campus is slated for a major overhaul starting at the end of this semester. Several major construction projects will be implemented, according to university officials.
An overview of all upcoming construction projects were announced at open presentation last Wednesday in the Assembly Hall.

"It's not going to be pretty, it's not going to be quiet, and it's not going to be beautiful and clean," said John Giarrusso, the assistant vice president of physical facilities at the University at Albany.

"You will hear chainsaws," he added.
A full renovation of the Campus Center is planned to start this summer.

"When all is said and done and the dust settles, 10 or 12 years from now it will cost $75 million. The plan is to renovate the entire building," said Giarrusso.

 Despite the financial woes of the New York State Legislature, Giarrusso says that the funding for the project is sound, as the money is locked in UAlbany's capital money, not the operational funds which UAlbany President George Philip said there was a  "real possibility of additional significant cuts too," in an e-mail. 

The first phase of the project will take place in the Campus Center lobby. The sides will be extended and the lighting, coloring, and general mood of the lobby will be changed. The second phase is expected to start in roughly a year-and-a-half, according to Giarrusso, and is what he describes an "expansion job." The second phase will reportedly add 50,000 square feet to the Campus Center.

The third phase has no time frame and has not yet been fully developed.
Another major construction venture will be the development of a new business school building next to Collins Circle, where the visitors parking lot currently sits. Over half of the new building will be classrooms with the rest reserved for offices and administrative purposes.

Along with the construction the new building will come major changes to the general look of the front of our campus.

"We will create a whole new bus stop area," said Giarrusso, "a new modern, bright, friendly bus stop that will be larger then the one we currently have."
In order to begin building the new business school, the sewers and pipes underground will have to be addressed.

To do this work, the trees in the area will need to be pulled out.
According to Giarrusso, every tree on campus was surveyed and it was found that a majority of them were found to be suffering from a disease causing the needles on the pine trees to become brown.

The plan is to pull out the trees and replace them as speedily as possible.

"We're not gonna wait two years and then do it," said Giarrusso.

New student housing will be built by the baseball fields and Indian Pond. There will be two buildings, each five stories high. The rooms will be four person suites with two bathrooms in each. In total, there will be 500 suites and 350 additional parking spaces will be added. The construction will start this summer and is expected to be finished by the end of Summer 2012.

There are also plans, although they have not yet been approved, to place skylights on what Giarrusso describes as the "front door of our campus."

The vacant, square holes found at the corners and in the center of the podium were initially meant to have skylights on them, but they were never installed. This project will attempt to recreate the ones already found directly in front of campus center and the library.
Dutch quad will also be receiving a make-over. A defined path will be created between Dutch and the Campus Center instead of students having to "walk through the dirt," as Giarrusso put it.

The trees will be replaced on Dutch as well, where the old trees will be turned in to lumber or mulch and the new ones will be more diverse then the old ones were.

Other possible projects include improving our athletic field and replacing the current grass football field with a turf one so that it may be used year round and replacing the track because the current one does not comply with NCAA standards. UAlbany is looking to replace many of the elevators and to renovate the library as well.

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