Work will begin in May on a new housing complex SUNY Cobleskill hopes will attract prospective students looking for a “homelike” feel, with apartment-style suites and townhouses.
The college is planning a May 1 groundbreaking ceremony for the 158-bed Alumni Commons, the college announced this week, with the project overseen by an alumnus.
Apartment-style housing will give upper-level students — juniors and seniors studying for a bachelor’s degree — the modern living environment sought after in today’s higher education, said Steven M. Ackerknecht, vice president for student affairs.
Over the past 20 years, the current residence halls have seen roughly $25 million in upgrades, including new rugs, painting, lighting, bedrooms and ceilings, “but what they don’t do is really meet the needs of the older students. They want a more private experience,” Ackerknecht said.
He said the administration’s goal is to have half of the students in associate’s degree programs and the other half pursuing bachelor’s degrees.
The agriculture and technology college started out as a two-year institution, and now offers 32 associate’s degree programs and 21 for bachelor’s degree majors.
“We’re really going to cater to those juniors or seniors that are maybe moving off campus,” he said.
Colleges throughout the country are moving toward a new form of housing for upper-level students, lowering the ratio of students to bathrooms and giving students single bedrooms.
At many schools, there’s one bathroom for as many as six students. SUNY Cobleskill’s ratio will be two students to one private bathroom. And the rooms themselves will be a bit bigger than the national average, Ackerknecht said.
“We’re trying to make it very, very attractive,” he said.
Construction plans call for suites with a total of 110 beds and eight townhouse units with six bedrooms each — plus air conditioning.
The project was made possible through a state law that allows a college’s Alumni Association to bond for the $10 million project and pay off the loan using proceeds from student housing rentals. The association created the Alumni Housing Corp LLC and hired LP Ciminelli to design and build the facility.
Kyle Tuttle, a 1984 SUNY Cobleskill graduate and an employee at LP Ciminelli, will manage and oversee the project.
Work is expected to begin this construction season and be finished in time for the start of the 2014 school year.