Schenectady County

Union Graduate College makes last-minute changes to center plan

In response to stinging criticism from the Schenectady Planning Commission, Union Graduate College o
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In response to stinging criticism from the Schenectady Planning Commission, Union Graduate College officials redressed their facade just in time for today’s groundbreaking.

The facade is now a grayer color, rather than the bright tan that was shown to the commission. Horizontal decorative lines were also added, but not the elaborate window-dressings that one commission member requested after calling the facade dull and bland.

The building will be built along Nott Terrace near the defunct Friendly’s, but it will not face the road. The ornamental entrance will face a parking lot behind the building, to the dismay of planning commission members.

But architect James McKinney said that was the most sensible arrangement for the building.

“You can feel it, standing here,” he said, pointing toward the parking lot that overlooks City Hall. “That’s where you want to be looking.”

Tom Hitchcock, president of the college’s Board of Trustees, added that it will be a vast improvement over the current parking lot.

“In place of the barren blacktop we see today, there will stand a handsome campus,” he said.

The three-story, glass entrance will “offer spectacular views of downtown and the greater Mohawk Valley,” he said.

And McKinney promised the Nott Terrace side of the long building would look prettier in years to come, as the college expands. There will be a main entrance on Nott Terrace then that McKinney said would be impressive.

“A lot of glass, a big arch,” he said.

Aesthetics aside, local politicians were enthusiastic as they ceremonially broke ground for the project this morning.

“Believe it or not, today the bachelor’s degree doesn’t cut it,” said Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna. “You’ve got to have an advanced degree if you’re going to go on to bigger and better things.”

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