The new president of the University at Albany is appealing to Capital Region business and community leaders to support a new five-year funding plan.
President Robert Jones presented a plan that calls for $293 million over five years for critically important capital improvements, renovations, and upgrades to the university’s aging campus facilities, spanning more than 5.8 million square feet. He says the revitalization and renewal plan will preserve the university’s existing infrastructure while creating an estimated 2,500 Capital Region jobs.
Jones explained that UAlbany’s five-year SUNY Capital Plan will provide a substantial infusion of capital monies into the local economy. With student enrollment at about 17,000, Jones notes both the 50-year old uptown campus and the over 100-year old downtown campus are in need of upgrades to the buildings.
Mike Elmendorf, the President and CEO at Associated General Contractors, says "you can't take a break" when it comes to maintaining structural integrity.
There are more than $1.2 billion of critical maintenance and upgrade backlog needs across the UAlbany campuses The push comes during almost constant construction on new nanotechnology facilities that have transformed Washington Avenue.
Jones recently suceeded RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson as co-chair of the Capital Region Economic Development Council. He noted that he's "not asking for a dime more" than UAlbany needs. The delegation of local officials, including State Senator Neil Breslin and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, who appeared with Jones Friday at University Hall on the uptown campus, pledged to address the funding requests.