UAlbany taking a step forward on the Schuyler Building conversion, just not as far as it hoped

former Albany High School now UAlbany building

Quick update on UAlbany's plan to convert the Schuyler Building into the home for its new engineering college...

UAlbany did not get the $20 million it was seeking for the project as part of the state budget. But the university said this week it has gathered up enough funding for the exterior work on the building it had planned for later this year, including new windows and some masonry touch-ups. (You might notice the scaffolding going up in a few months.) Other exterior work -- such as roof repair -- had already been in progress.

The overall plan for the Schuyler Building -- a former Albany school district school building adjacent to the UAlbany downtown campus at Western and Lake -- is a $60 million renovation that would convert the space so it could house the new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

UAlbany had requested the $20 million during this past budget cycle to pay for the first phase of the interior renovations. University spokesman Karl Luntta said this week via email that UAlbany is still in the hunt for that full $20 million.

ualbany engineering college downtown campus rendering cropped
A UAlbany rendering of what the converted building could look like.

This is the second budget cycle in which UAlbany hasn't gotten the money. University officials had been hoping that the school's growing enrollment -- along with the potential revitalization potential of placing as many as 2,000 students and faculty in a facility in the heart of Albany's mid section -- would catch the attention of the state legislature.

The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences formally started July, 2015, growing out of the former he former College of Computing and Information. This school year it has 800 students -- 300 of them in computer engineering, the school's first engineering degree program.

Other degree programs are in development: electrical engineering, environmental engineering, bioengineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial and systems engineering.

The college got a boost earlier this year when an anonymous donor pledged $4 million to it, which the college will use to set up endowed professorships and graduate student fellowships as part of an effort recruit faculty. There about two dozen faculty already on board with the college.

CEAS is currently located on UAlbany's uptown campus, finding space where it can. As Kim Boyer, the college's dean, told us in March if they didn't land the $20 million during this budget process: "We just keep on keepin' on. I don't see any realistic way we could hit the pause button. "

Earlier on AOA:
+ Checking in on UAlbany's plan to convert the Schuyler Building in Albany into the home of its new engineering college
+ Imagining possible futures for the neighborhood around UAlbany's downtown campus

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