Union College science center financing approved

College will be able to borrow at lower interest rate
A rendering of the proposed science and engineering center at Union College.
A rendering of the proposed science and engineering center at Union College.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

The Schenectady County Legislature on Tuesday night approved a plan for the county’s Capital Resource Corp. to finance up to $70 million for Union College’s new science and engineering center.

Financing through Capital Resource Corp. will allow Union to borrow at a lower interest rate than it otherwise could, because the bonds will be fully tax-exempt. The Legislature’s approval is required by law, and the resource corporation will meet Wednesday morning to take the final vote, which is required.

“We appreciate very much Union College’s decision to build a science and research center on campus. It will be very important to the college,” said Legislator Gary E. Hughes, chairman of the resource corporation.

The financing’s conditions include a one-time $250,000 payment by the college to the city.

The financing, approved by an 11-0 margin with two abstentions, will be the largest Capital Resource Corp. has done since it was established in 2010, Hughes said. The corporation will receive a $350,000 fee that by law must be used to further economic development in the county.

The debt is to be paid off by the college, with the county having no responsibility for repayment.

Union College announced in March that it plans to spend $100 million on a new science and engineering center intended to make the college one that fully integrates science and engineering with liberal arts in the overall college curriculum. The costs not covered by financing will be covered from college reserves and fundraising, college officials said earlier.

“It’s a win-win-win for the county,” said Legislator Richard Patierne of Schenectady, who abstained from the approval vote because he works for the college.

The project involves demolishing portions of the existing building, at 807 Union St., and rebuilding a pair of additions. The construction will ultimately increase the building size by 22,332 square feet, and will be done in two phases to avoid interrupting academic operations.

The college doesn’t pay taxes on its properties, and Hughes said earlier that the one-time $250,000 payment by the college to the city was negotiated as a “nice gesture” by the college.

A groundbreaking for the facility is tentatively planned for May 20, with completion of the project in phases in the fall of 2018 and in 2019.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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