SU parking lot to become academic building

A Syracuse University parking lot will become home to SUNY-ESF’s newest academic building following a land swap between the two colleges.

The building, which will house the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s department of environmental and forest biology, will be built on the SU-owned Standart parking lot located behind Lawrinson Hall, said Joseph Rufo, vice president for administration at ESF.

In exchange, ESF will give SU an equal-sized block of land located directly north of the parking lot. The land currently contains the 12 apartments, which served as student housing prior to the opening of ESF’s first residence hall, Centennial Hall, last year, Rufo said.

ESF plans to demolish the apartments so the land can be turned into a parking lot to replace the one SU is giving up, Rufo said.

Although the two pieces of land are located next to each other, Rufo feels it’s still a good idea to swap. The parking lot where the new building will be constructed is adjacent to ESF and will help enhance the west side of ESF’s campus, Rufo said.

In addition, the property ESF is giving to SU is closer to the SU campus and will fit in better there, he said.

“Both parties came together and we both agreed that it makes sense to swap,” Rufo said.

The two colleges have been discussing making the swap for a few years, but specific details have not yet been finalized, he said. 

The department’s old home, Illick Hall will be renovated for other uses, which will likely include spaces for classrooms and offices that have been temporarily displaced by renovations to other ESF buildings, Rufo said.

The renovations are not expected to take place in the near future. Some renovations to the greenhouse and the exterior of Illick have already begun, but changes to the interior are still a few years away, he said.

Construction on the new building is expected to start in fall 2013 and end by summer 2015. The construction will occur in two phases, with phase one costing $44 million and phase two costing $42 million, for a total cost of $86 million, The Daily Orange reported on April 30.

The first phase will include the building of an outdoor classroom, 12 main research laboratories and associated support space, faculty offices, instructional support spaces and graduate student offices, according to the article.

In the second phase, a solar pre-heat wall will be built to help reduce the campus’ carbon footprint, according to the article.

The new building will likely be LEED platinum certified, according to the article. LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — certifies that a building was designed and built to achieve high performance in environmental health.

To achieve this rating, landscaping around the building will manage rainwater runoff, and the solar pre-heat wall will capture sunlight and use it to help heat the building in the winter, according to the article.

Limited parking spaces will be available around the building because school officials did not want to sacrifice the outdoor classroom for a parking lot. But officials hope the lack of spaces will encourage alternative transportation, according to the article.


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