Syracuse University will implement a $150 million to $185 million plan over the next five years aimed at meeting academic and student support space needs on campus.
The University’s Board of Trustees approved the plan in principle at its annual meeting last spring. Recommended by the All-University Space Advisory Committee, chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor Michael Flusche, the plan calls for adding 350,000 to 400,000 square feet of academic space and renovating nearly 350,000 square feet of existing space.
The University’s external space planning consultant, Arthur Lidsky, president of Dober, Lidsky, Craig and Associates of Belmont, Massachusetts, told University administrators that SU academic space is about a million gross square feet under the average
of a set of 11 institutions similar in size and structure.
The plan’s first phase calls for the expansion of:
• the Center for Science and Technology, to include research and teaching in the life sciences and chemistry instruction;
• E.S. Bird Library, to absorb the science and technology collection;
• the School of Management, either for a new building or an addition to the existing one; and
• the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, to add a third building.
The possibility of a new building to house the new College of Human Services and Health Professions, which will combine the College of Nursing, School of Social Work, and College for Human Development, is under discussion.
The plan’s second and third phases, which will be implemented after the first phase is completed, include renovations
to Slocum Hall for the School of Architecture; Carnegie Library for the mathematics department and all-University classrooms; Hinds Hall for humanities departments; Steele Hall for expansion of the Maxwell School; and the Biological Research Laboratories for the School of Information Studies.
Phases two and three are also expected to involve a site for the new college; additional space for the psychology department and the School of Education; relocation of the retail management and design technologies department; a space that pombines student support services in one location; and renovations to Sims, Lyman, Huntington, and Bowne halls.
The plan’s next step is to create specific academic program statements that will guide development of future building plans. Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund will work with college deans and Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw to develop funding plans for each project. Throughout the process, the principal planning concept will be that additional space is an investment in the University’s future. “Our academic needs drive our space planning efforts,” says Freund. “We must position ourselves to compete for the very best students and faculty. Improved physical facilities are necessary for that to occur.”
Flusche says funds for construction and renovation will be obtained through a bond issue and fund raising. The annual operating cost of the new buildings, estimated at $4 million to $5 million, will be offset by a controlled and targeted increase in enrollment—75 students in each entering class.
The committee’s report, submitted to the Chancellor in April, says the costs are “a comparatively modest price to pay in comparison with the expected benefits.” Among those benefits, the report cites “a dramatically improved library, more and better cÎassrooms, contemporary research and teaching facilities for life sciences and engineering, appropriate offices for all faculty, and improved facilities for a number of departments and for the new college.
The goals for making such significant investments include advancement in national rankings, improved research productivity, improved student recruitment and performance, and recruitment and retention of stronger faculty members,” says the report (www.syr.edu/ chancellor/space-planning/).
The Board of Trustees, by approving the plan in principle, has accepted its overall nature and scope, Flusche says. The plan will continue to be refined, and the board will receive a proposal for each project. “Each component will be reviewed on its own,” Flusche says.
After the academic specifications are developed, a budget projection, funding plan, ideas for fund-raising opportunities, and architectural designs for each project will be forwarded to the board for approval. “Under the absolutely best scenario, we are at least 18 months away from beginning construction,” Flusche says. “More likely it will be two years.”
Conversation about academic space needs has been ongoing for several years, Flusche says. Formal planning began during the 1998-99 academic year with Flusche; Chris Danek, academic space planning assistant in the Office of Academic Affairs; and Virginia Denton, director of the Office of Design and Construction, doing building analyses and developing preliminary space options. At that time, then-Vice Chancellor Gershon Vincow began looking at academic space needs.
Chancellor Shaw appointed the All-University Space Advisory Committee in fall 1999 to provide a broad analysis
of how the University could most effectively invest in academic facilities to advance its vision and mission.
KELLY HOMAN RODOSKI