President George Philip and Assistant Vice President John Giarusso made a presentation to the Harriman Research & Technology Development Corporation (HRTDC) at its board meeting today to explain its proposal to locate student housing on the Harriman Campus, instead of in the Southeast Corner woods adjacent to the west side of Tudor Road.
Mr. Giarrusso noted that dormitory utilization on the Uptown Campus is very high, with students making use of lounges as dormitory room space. UAlbany is also in the process of renovating all four student quads, and needs additional space to be used as these quads are renovated.
According to Mr. Giarrusso, any student housing would have to be within walking distance of the uptown campus, and be accessible to other UAlbany services, such as Security and Residential Life.
UAlbany is looking at two options for the new dormitories:
1) Use the Southeast Corner
As this option last stood, an earthen berm would be placed on top of the rise between UAlbany and the neighbors.
University Drive would be relocated parallel to the berm. This move would place the buildings further away from the neighbors, and eliminate a street crossing for the students. The 3.3 acres acquired from the Harriman Campus would be used to route the relocated University Drive. There would be no connection with the Harriman Campus.
Parking for 350 vehicles would be placed west of the relocated University Drive, and two five story buildings would be placed west of the parking lots and east of Iroquois Lake.
As designed, UAlbany intended to hide the new buildings from view of the neighbors.
This option is currently on hold, due to neighborhood opposition.
2) Move the site north onto the Harriman Campus.
In this option, access and parking for the dorms would be located in the 3.3 acre triangle of land acquired from the Harriman.
The buildings would be located in the space between the current ring roads on the corner of the campus. Again, the intent is to move the buildings away from the neighbors.
The ring roads would be reconfigured to run east of the proposed buildings.
With this option, a corner of the proposed parking lot will adjoin Tudor Road, rather than having development along the entire edge of the property.
Also, by being placed further north, it would be easier to reach the Patroon Creek for storm water drainage, rather than the Krumkill, if needed.
UAlbany believes the timeline for the project is urgent, and will look for HRDTC action at its January 11, 2010 meeting. It will develop more detailed information for the Harriman in this time. They would still use Dormitory Authority funding to build the project, including the ring road relocation. They will also have to use competitive bidding for the construction of the buildings.
UAlbany's presentation and request were clear, direct, and well received by the Board members. However, Mayor Jennings expressed his opinion that if the need for housing is urgent, that the original Southeast corner plan was fine.
If you have an opportunity to talk to the Mayor's office, you should ask about his apparent lack of support for the residents of Eagle Hill.