The SUNY ESF Administration is planning to embark on a new strategy to modernize its campus.
After opting for new construction the past few years, including its signature Gateway Building, the school is now planning to upgrade its existing buildings.
SUNY ESF President Dr. Quentin Wheeler says, “Our expectations of the performance of labs has changed dramatically so its really important that we bring both our teaching and research labs up to modern standards.”
While just a fraction of the overall cost to upgrade ESF’s biggest building, Illick Hall, the school is looking to spend about $17 million to upgrade labs there.
Another $35 million is earmarked for the second oldest building on campus, Marshall Hall.
“We want our facilities to be as sustainable and as efficient as possible so we’re really excited about the opportunity to take facilities that are really core to our mission and bring those up to more modern standards.” Wheeler tells NewsChannel 9.
He adds the goal with Marshall Hall, built in the 1930’s, is to maintain the historic look of it while upgrading the infrastructure to the standards you’d expect at a school like ESF.
SUNY ESF Chief Sustainability Officer Mark Lichtenstein says, “We have to walk the talk. We’re ESF. We’re currently ranked #2 in the country by Sierra Club for being a “cool school” and also #2 for Green schools in Princeton Review so we want to keep those rankings high because as the President says this is a way we attract students and others.”
“We really would like to be a sort of a flagship within the State University system of what a sustainable campus ought to look like.” Wheeler says.
Funding for this work needs to be approved in the State Budget but ESF is proceeding with the planning so they’re ready to go as soon as the money is made available.