Student housing continues Hudson Valley evolution

Pat Gareau

Editor-in-Chief

The first phases of construction for student housing at Hudson Valley is on track to start in May, continuing the ongoing expansion and building on campus.

“Ironworks,” the working title for the residence hall, will house over 300 students and is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2016. Final details on the financing of the project and construction timeline are close to being finalized, with the first phases of construction likely starting in May. Omni Development is partnering with Sequence Development to build and manage the facility.

“Basically, the purpose of the residence halls is to give students the opportunity to experience the full college experience, and it will enable students from farther distances to be a part of the college’s community,” said Alex Popovics, vice president for enrollment management and student development.

In recent years, there has been a trend of New York State community colleges building residences. In the Capital Region, Adirondack Community College (ACC) and Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) have both opened student housing facilities since 2012.

Lucas Meyers, the director of communication at ACC, believes that much of what Popovics hopes for at Hudson Valley has already happened at ACC as a result of its housing. “In a lot of ways it’s changed the character of the campus from a commuter school to a residential campus that has people here around the clock,” said Meyers.

SCCC also has seen some benefits from its housing. “Because we have housing now close to the campus, our admissions team can go out further,” said Darren Johnson, assistant dean of planning, accountability, and development at SCCC.

However, SCCC has recently dealt with problems involving its student housing. On Feb. 15, two students were stabbed at the College Suites right across the street from the campus. Like Hudson Valley’s housing, SCCC’s housing was built and managed by a private company.

New York State law dictates that community colleges can’t have residences, so the schools either have a private company or an affiliated non-profit organization build and manage them.

According to Fred Aliberti, Hudson Valley director of public safety, details on security and responses to an incident like what happened at SCCC are still being developed.

“There’s still a bit of uncertainty in how that will evolve,” said Aliberti.

Ironworks plans to have private security contractors on site, but will still stay in close contact with local authorities and Hudson Valley Public Safety, according to Aliberti.

ACC’s public safety moved its offices into the residence halls once they opened. Hudson Valley’s presence at the student housing will be limited to periodically patrolling the property, which the college will continue to own and lease to the private companies managing the site.

Aliberti said that in the case of incidents happening at the housing facility, Hudson Valley would be notified and steps would be taken on campus to address the problem.

“I’m hoping we don’t get any extreme incidents like what happened there,” said Aliberti.

According to officials from other local colleges, if extreme incidents can be avoided, then the housing can be an immense benefit to Hudson Valley.

“Also, in the fall of 2016 we’re on schedule to have the new outdoor athletic complex completed for our students… so that combined with the new residence halls, those two will definitely have a strong impact on the college experience that students have,” said Popovics.

 

 

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