Schenectady County

Union plans $9M dorm

Union College is proposing a new 80-bed, $9 million residence hall near the main campus.

Union College is proposing a new 80-bed, $9 million residence hall near the main campus.

The plan before the city Planning Commission calls for a two-story, apartment-style hall on the north side of Roger Hull Place at Park Place. The building would be 38,420 square feet and offer two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, officials said.

The building would go with the college’s other apartment-style and residence halls and allow more students to live in college-run housing, Union spokesman Phillip Wajda said.

“All students are required to live on campus, space permitting,” he said. “This will get us close to our goal of all students living on campus.”

The college currently has about 2,200 students, and about 2,000 live in campus housing, Wajda said. The proposed new hall would be for upperclassmen.

The proposal is expected to be considered at the Planning Commission’s meeting Aug. 27. If there are no major issues, approval could be given at its Sept. 17 meeting.

The initial version of the plan was discussed at the July meeting, officials said. Questions centered on the Park Avenue side and ensuring the hall would be built to fit with the neighborhood, said Christine Primiano, principal city planner.

College officials said in a news release the entire building will be constructed to “respect the scale of the neighborhood and maintain the architectural integrity of the surrounding properties.”

The initial plan would have required a variance for being too close to the street, Primiano said. The revised version is expected to eliminate that consideration, and should be submitted next week for consideration at the Aug. 27 meeting, she said.

Any variances that may be needed on the final proposal would be considered at the city Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Sept. 3, she said.

The site is a vacant lot already owned by the college.

If it receives all necessary approvals, the college hopes to begin construction this fall and have the hall open and operational in time for the 2015-16 school year.

Each apartment is to have its own kitchen and living room, two bathrooms and closets. The ground floor of the building will have a multipurpose room, lounge, study room, meeting room and music room. A laundry will also be in the building, officials said.

It is to be designed to the environmental standards of Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED, a green-building certification program.

Sano-Rubin Construction of Albany is the general contractor, and Envision Architects of Albany is the architect. Construction will be funded through college-issued bonds.

Union offers several styles of residences, from residence halls to theme houses, Greek residences and apartments, according to its website. The building would be the college’s seventh residence hall and the third for upperclassmen, according to the website.

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