UAlbany and Capital Region Leaders Join Together to Support New SUNY Capital Plan Request

Funding will provide critical campus infrastructure improvements and more than 2,500 Capital Region jobs over five years

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 1, 2013) -- Today, University at Albany President Robert Jones enlisted the support of business and community leaders for the University's SUNY Capital Plan request.

The plan calls for $293 million over five years for critically important capital improvements, renovations, and upgrades to the University’s aging campus facilities, spanning more than 5.8 million square feet. This revitalization and renewal plan will preserve the University’s existing infrastructure while creating an estimated 2,500 Capital Region jobs.

In December 2012, the SUNY Board of Trustees recommended a $5 billion SUNY Capital Plan for the State University’s state operated campuses over the next five years. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher’s budget testimony underscored the need for critical maintenance funding of $2 billion for state operated campuses system wide. Both requests highlight the dire need for capital funding for the State University’s state operated campuses.

With 82 percent of the UAlbany’s physical plant now approaching at least 50 years of age, most of its capital facilities in severe need of repair and upgrade. There are more than $1.2 billion of critical maintenance and upgrade backlog needs across the UAlbany campuses.

The University at Albany’s capital request addresses those infrastructure needs that present unique and distinct challenges. With its Downtown Campus built in the early 1900s and its Uptown Campus’s 21-acre mega-complex constructed in the 1960s, the University’s physical plant requires costly and consistent levels of investment.

"The repairs and renovations the University requires are critical. Adoption of our capital investment plan is central to providing a learning environment for our students that promotes and enhances access, discovery, and innovation," said University at Albany President Robert Jones.

Capital Region leaders threw their support behind the University plan.
UAlbany President Robert J. Jones, with NY State Legislators
University at Albany President Robert Jones, with, from left, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, Assemblyman John McDonald and State Senator Neil Breslin, emphasized that the capital investment plan is central to providing a learning environment that promotes and enhances access, discovery, and innovation. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

"In addition to improving the physical plant and infrastructure of the university, necessary capital investment at the University at Albany through this plan will put people to work and create thousands of quality Capital Region jobs," said Mike Elmendorf, President and Chief Executive Officer at Associated General Contractors of New York State.

"As the largest public university in the region and a flagship of the state university system, the University at Albany must be able to successfully maintain and improve its infrastructure for its students, faculty, and staff, while creating Capital Region jobs," said State Senator Neil D. Breslin.

"The capital improvement needs at the University at Albany are enormous, and it is necessary for this delegation to address the funding requests as critical and essential, for the university, for its students, and for the Capital Region," said State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk.

"There is no greater incentive for approving capital funding for the University at Albany than understanding that the university supports an improved and sustained learning environment for more than 17,000 students, and creates thousands of regional jobs," said State Senator Hugh T. Farley.

"This critical capital investment will improve the educational and learning spaces for the University at Albany’s 23,000 students, faculty and staff, while creating thousands of construction jobs to help spur our greater Capital Region economy,” said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.

The University at Albany’s five-year SUNY Capital Plan will provide a substantial infusion of capital monies into the local economy – in particular general contractors, trades professionals, and architectural/engineering firms.

During the five-year period of the previous Capital Plan 2008-2013, more than 75 Capital Region construction, engineering, and architectural firms directly benefitted from this plan resulting in over 2,600 jobs.

"The capital backlog needs at the University at Albany are extraordinary. It is incumbent upon our entire delegation, as well as our business and community leaders, to raise the visibility of this issue and ensure that our region’s flagship public research University receives its fair and equitable share of SUNY capital funding," said Assemblyman John McDonald.

“Preserving and maintaining the infrastructure of the region’s largest public University assures access and educational opportunity to a quality higher education in a 21st century learning environment. The University’s capital plan is critically important to realizing this goal,” said Assemblyman Phil Steck.

“There is much at stake for the Capital Region as we seek to preserve and maintain the quality of the University’s physical plant. In addition to modernizing our internationally recognized University, this funding priority will drive economic growth and job creation across the region,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.

"The University at Albany is not just a flagship of SUNY, it's a critically important partner of the city of Albany. Adoption of the University's capital plan will enhance the economic vitality of the city, and provide the much needed infrastructure improvements to drive research and learning for its thousands of students," said Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.