Schenectady County

Siena to add new academic building

Siena College is planning to construct a new academic building, at a cost of $6 million to $8 millio

Siena College is planning to construct a new academic building, at a cost of $6 million to $8 million, to give students and faculty a little more breathing room.

The roughly 23,000-square-foot, three-story building will house six classrooms, three seminar rooms and offices for about 30 faculty members for the School of Liberal Arts, including the education, social work and sociology departments. It will be built on what is now a parking lot and green space near the MacClosky Square Townhouses and the college’s maintenance building, according to Mark Frost, assistant vice president for facilities.

“It’s much-needed academic space. Right now, our faculty are crowded in other places on campus,” he said.

In addition, this building will have more high-tech features, including smart boards, LCD screens and wireless and regular Internet hookups.

“We’re trying to make this space very versatile so the configuration for the seating can be changed,” Frost said.

This will be the college’s sixth academic building. College officials are seeking its certification as a green building by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Environmentally friendly features will include photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and geothermal heating.

Work will begin following commencement in May and take about 12 months, but Frost said the impact on college operations will be minimal.

The construction will be funded through a mix of private donations and college revenues, and possibly borrowing, according to Frost. The exact cost will be determined following a competitive bidding process from invited companies.

The project will come before the town of Colonie Planning Board on March 13 for a conceptual review.

Joseph LaCivita, director of planning and economic development for the town of Colonie, said the college wants to construct the new academic building as an addition onto a small 1,500-square-foot residence that it had purchased and plans to incorporate its architecture into the design, which was done by the LA Group.

“It’s actually a great design,” he said.

Final approval could come as soon as April, according to LaCivita. “It doesn’t appear that there’s any issues or concerns at this point,” he said.

This project is among the latest efforts to upgrade the campus. A new residence hall was opened on campus in the fall of 2010. The college also has a five-year plan that includes building a new Center for Social Justice building, creating the Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, renovating the Marcelle Athletic Complex and upgrading existing residence halls.

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