Schenectady County

Union set to unveil new graduate center

Union Graduate College is taking the next step in its growth with the opening of its new building at

Union Graduate College is taking the next step in its growth with the opening of its new building at the corner of Nott Terrace and Liberty Street.

Classes are starting this week in the 24,000-square-foot facility, which will be officially dedicated in a ceremony set for Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. The public is invited.

President Laura Schweitzer said college officials are excited about moving from a 10,000-square-foot space at the Union College campus.

“We have faculty scattered all over campus and we’re now all in this building,” she said.

A lot of care went into the design of the building, Schweitzer said, to make it welcoming for students. The first floor features a large open atrium containing comfortable seating, a kitchenette and a big-screen television.

“It gives them a place to come. It feels like home,” she said.

In addition, there is an office for student support services, which had been previously scattered at different locations at the college’s old home. There is also a new Career Services Center courtesy of a $500,000 donation from Lewis and Colleen Golub.

The building also has several green features including sustainable building materials, high-efficiency lighting, a geothermal heating and cooling system and a swale system to redirect storm water runoff. The roof is also designed to house solar panels, which will be used in the school’s emerging energy systems engineering degree, according to the college.

Schweitzer added that there are even solar deflectors on the windows that help direct light into the building but also help deflect the light and heat when the sun is high in the summer. College officials are pursuing Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design as a green building.

“We obviously want to be environmentally conscious in making our choices here, and so we have taken a lot that was an old Sunoco gas station that had been closed down and transformed it into our new campus,” she said.

Schweitzer said this new space will allow the college to grow its programs. There are currently 650 full- and part-time students in four different schools — engineering, management, bioethics and school of education. There was a 5.5 percent increase in total enrollment this year.

“We would like to double in size,” Schweitzer said.

The engineering school has a new program in sustainable energy systems. The management school has launched a new program that allows students to get their MBA while fulfilling their required 150 hours of accounting.

The college also offers a master’s of arts in teaching of Chinese and is the only upstate school with this program, according to Schweitzer.

The bioethics program has a new concentration in research ethics, which is attracting lawyers and other professionals.

The $8.5 million building was financed with bonds and $3 million in fund-raising. The college received a variety of federal and state grants it will use to help pay back the bond, including member items from U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, Sen. Hugh Farley, NYSERDA and Metroplex.

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