Samuel Northrup, Editor in Chief
Brick by brick, the construction management (CM) building is nearing its highly-anticipated opening.
The building is on track to be open for classes at the start of the spring semester and will serve as the permanent home of the CM program at Utica College. Despite various hurdles, the cost to cover the more than $3.5 million construction bill has been fulfilled, while roughly $300,000-$400,000 in additional funds is still needed to outfit the building with high-tech equipment and software, according to the Office of Student Advancement. In the meantime, the current equipment and furniture being used by the program will be moved to the new building.
Vice President for Advancement George Nehme, who has been leading fundraising efforts for the project, explained while there is still an immediate need for equipment costs, the entire project has not incurred “a penny of debt to the college.”
“My office is continuing to raise funds to help make sure the building is outfitted completely and properly with all the technology that the faculty would like to have in that building,” Nehme said.
To this point, the bulk of the multi-million dollar project has been funded through donations — the largest of which was $1 million given by CM alumnus Gary Thurston. Prior to the spring 2018 semester, UC also received $700,000 towards the CM building as part of a larger award package totalling $85.5 million that was given to the Mohawk Valley by the Regional Economic Development Council.
Later in the spring, the College notably made an attempt to secure more government funding through the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) with the help of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Shortly after Schumer made an appearance on campus to voice his support for the CM building, college officials were notified the application that was submitted to the EDA was denied.
Now, excitement from CM students and faculty is brimming as the new facility is being built yards away from their program’s current home in the basement of Hubbard Hall.
“It’s great, [and] it’s a long time coming,” Director of Construction Management David DubbeIde said. “I started with eight students 10 years ago, and we have 108 now. The basement of Hubbard isn’t adequate anymore. The class sizes are bigger, we need more technology, the program is being recognized nationally and I’ve got students all over the country that are graduating from this program; it’s imperative we have facilities that keep pace.”
Since Dubbelde arrived 10 years ago, the CM program has experienced steady growth, with the most notable uptick in enrollment occuring this fall with the arrival of 40 freshman students. While this year’s high enrollment numbers have the future of the program pointing upward, Dubbelde explained only “time will tell” exactly how much of an impact the CM building will have on recruiting new students.
For junior CM majors Alexis LaQuay and Michael Delia, the new building is more than just another place to go to class; it is an opportunity to start new clubs and programs for students, such as the previously-defunct Student Contractors Association.
“I think it’s gonna be a great resource [for us] as a program, and we also just started up our club (Student Contractors Association),” Dalia said. “It’s going to be a great resource to get speakers, trade demonstrations and carpenters and masons to come in; we’ll have all that there as a resource to work more towards our careers.”
While LaQuay and Dalia wait for the potential opportunities the new facility may bring, they have also had the opportunity to learn from the project’s design and planning phases — real world examples taking place right on campus.
“We got to see all the schematics and drawings of the building before it was even approved,” LaQuay said. “So that was really cool [because] we got a behind-the-scenes look at the CM building.”
To commemorate the construction management program’s new building, a dedication will be held during homecoming weekend, Sept. 28-30.
“The building is just a physical manifestation of the commitment from alumni and from the College to basically make the program stronger and better,” Dubbelde said. “How can you not be happy about that?”