$69.5 million to fund completion of renovated science facilities

architectural renderingThe approved 2008-09 state budget includes $69.5 million for a new science building at SUNY Oswego. The strategic initiative funding supports the third phase of improvements to the college’s 1960s-era science facilities.

The entire project essentially reconstructs Piez Hall and adds new construction around it to transform the 46-year-old building into a 262,000-square-foot state-of-the-art science facility that would house the college’s existing biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, physics and math departments, plus new programs in engineering.

The facility will be built to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver standard in line with SUNY Oswego’s commitment to sustainable environmental practices. [UPDATE: LEED Gold certification became a project goal in 2009.]

The $69.5 million allocation will support construction of 132,000 square feet of the final project. This new laboratory space is expected to front the existing Piez Hall on Takamine Street.

“The strategic initiative funding is wonderful news for our campus. We are already well under way and this will keep us moving forward,” SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley said.

“The final, consolidated science, math and engineering facility will showcase these disciplines on our campus and allow us to attract more high-performing students, recruit top-notch faculty members and produce well-prepared graduates who can put their learning to work in businesses and industries in the region,” she said.

“This project will pay dividends for many decades into the future, and we’re grateful that the State Legislature and governor have had the foresight to make this investment,” the president said.

Two years ago SUNY Oswego received $25.4 million in state funds to begin renovating its science facilities. Cannon Design architectural firm, headquartered in Buffalo, was recently retained to begin design for this first phase of the project, which will be a 50,000-square-foot addition to the 80,000-square-foot Piez Hall. Ground breaking for that phase is scheduled for the summer of 2009.  [UPDATE: Groundbreaking ceremony was Sept. 17, 2010.]

Cannon Design is currently working on SUNY Buffalo’s science building and previously designed Yale University’s graduate chemistry research facility and Boston University’s life science and engineering building, according to Tom Simmonds, Oswego’s director of facilities design and construction.

In addition to the strategic initiative funding, the new state budget includes several million dollars in critical maintenance funding for the rehabilitation of Piez Hall itself. The science building project’s total cost is estimated at $110 million to $120 million.

Oswego’s science and math departments are now in Snygg Hall, which dates from 1968, and Piez, which was finished in 1962. Neither building has undergone significant renovation since its construction.

The college’s science faculty have been planning for upgraded facilities and working together on interdisciplinary initiatives since 2000. Their successful initiatives have included a degree program in biochemistry, creation of the Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Center, the Science Today lecture series and a proposal to add a new degree program in software engineering. Discussions are under way to propose new programs in computer and electrical engineering as well.

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PHOTO CAPTION: New laboratory building—Planning for extensive improvements to SUNY Oswego’s science facilities so far has produced this conceptual rendering of the $69.5 million addition to Piez Hall, which would sit on what is now Takamine Street on campus.

(Posted: Apr 11, 2008)

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