The 500-bed Liberty Terrace student housing is expected to be open by fall 2012. (Photo, courtesy of Chris Milian, Photos on High)
ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 22, 2011) -- When University at Albany students return to classes Aug. 29, they will find a half-dozen upgraded classrooms, new apartment-style student housing rising, and a new School of Business under construction. All of the work is part of ongoing efforts to create 21st century teaching, learning, living, and research spaces that meet the needs of the UAlbany community.The classrooms will be equipped with instructional technology and Internet access, flexible furnishings that adapt to team teaching, and expanded whiteboards. UAlbany has more than 100 general classrooms on the main campus, of which 97 percent are considered “smart” classrooms, with the balance being completed this fall. Smart classrooms are laptop-ready for faculty members.
The Liberty Terrace apartment-style student housing is under construction. (Photo Mark Schmidt)
Classroom 120 in the Education building has been upgraded and is ready for fall. Other classrooms scheduled to be ready for use this fall are Physics 116, Biology 152, Chemistry 151, and Lecture Center 11. Work continues on Lecture Center 12 and is expected to be completed by January 2012.
Biology 154, a laboratory, is under construction and is expected to be completed by mid-fall. Once that is finished, work will begin on the adjacent, Biology 155. In the spring, several more classrooms will be remodeled.
“For renovation purposes, the UAlbany campus is a continual work in progress. We need to ensure that we have safe, modern facilities,” said Associate Vice President for Finance and Business John Giarrusso. “Doing so takes multiple phases, as we still need to occupy the campus while the work gets done.”
Built in the 1960s when there was a massive expansion of the SUNY system, the campus that once held 10,000 students now holds more than 17,200.
The University is constructing the 500-bed Liberty Terrace apartment-style housing on the southeast portion of the uptown campus. Liberty Terrace is expected to open in fall 2012. In addition, the Seneca Hall low-rise residence hall at Indian Quad is scheduled for renovations in the coming academic year, and is also expected to reopen next fall.
The Liberty Terrace housing project includes extension of the Purple Path from the baseball field to the Boor Sculpture Studio. Once that housing is open next fall, the pond trail network will be improved and enhanced, and the Purple Path will be extended to State Quad parking lot.
Expansion of the Campus Center is planned, and the first phase of the project – renovation of the lobby – was completed over the summer.
Three new podium skylight domes have been installed to reduce maintenance costs and damage caused by exposure to the elements. The new domes fulfill the vision of the original podium architect, Edward Durell Stone. In addition, solar panels have been installed on the roof of the Social Sciences building in the first renewable energy project on campus.
Plans for a new 6,000-seat multi-use facility for football, soccer, and University events, as well as a renovated varsity track, are on the horizon. This project also includes the construction of a new artificial turf field for recreation and intramurals adjacent to the tennis courts by Dutch Quad.
President George M. Philip recently noted the track “is in such poor condition that it cannot be used by our track and field teams for home meets.” He added the football field was built before UAlbany had a football team, and has not been upgraded to meet today’s building, competition, and access code requirements.
The School of Business building is under construction next to the Grand Entry Plaza. In addition to being the new home for the School of Business, it will provide 28 new, flexible and modern classroom spaces for general University use when completed in 2013.
One improvement students can enjoy now is the area between Dutch Quad and the Campus Center. The new benches and trees provide a comfortable green space for studying.
Even something that sounds as simple as improving the energy efficiency of lighting becomes a major project when multiplied by 2,600 rooms, including classrooms, on the UAlbany uptown campus. The University is in the midst of replacing the equivalent of eight miles of light fixtures (if laid end-to-end) in the coming year. The new fixtures will be some 50 percent more energy efficient and are expected to save more than $250,000 a year on the University’s electric bill.
With an eye toward long-term planning, UAlbany’s 2013-2023 Facilities Master Plan is also under development. Advanced by SUNY for all of its campuses, the Facilities Master Plan will help shape renovation and new construction projects into the next decade. General information and participatory meetings were held in the spring semester and will be scheduled again this fall.