February 2, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 32°F


A fresh assessment

The Ithaca College Capital Campaign is expected to meet its fundraising goals and cover a share of the cost of two major construction projects, said Shelley Semmler, vice president of institutional advancement.

Construction workers continue progress Friday on the new School of Business, set to open for classes in Spring 2008. The building was originally projected to cost $14 million but is now projected to cost $19 million. The college will consider naming the school after its lead donor, Dorothy Park. Connor Gleason/The Ithacan

“Theoretically, all of the $20 million for the Athletic and Events Center and the $17 million for the business school will be in, in gifts and commitments, by Feb. 29, 2008,” Semmler said.

The Capital Campaign needs to raise an additional $2.5 million for the new School of Business and $5 million for the Athletic and Events Center before its deadline of Feb. 29, 2008.

According to Semmler, the Capital Campaign was scheduled to end this December, but has been extended to meet a possible challenge grant of

$1 million. The college will be notified of the grant foundation’s decision later this fall.

In August 2006, Kirk Swensen, the former comprehensive campaign manager, said the Athletics and Events Center would cost $25 million, but Carl Sgrecci, vice president of finance and administration, said no final costs or estimates of the center are being released by the college at this time.

“We had estimates back some time ago, but that was when the building was in very conceptual stages,” Sgrecci said.

The college has sent out the plans to several construction firms to get estimates on the final cost. Sgrecci said he expects to see those numbers by the middle of October.

“It’s definitely going to be more expensive than [$25 million],” Sgrecci said.

The facility is designed to house practice areas for athletics and large events like Commencement and Convocation. It will include a 130,000-square-foot field house, a synthetic turf field with stadium lighting and 500 spaces for parking to replace the present M-Lot. The business school is about a third of the size of the field house and will cost $19 million.

“We’re just talking about a very, very large project here,” Sgrecci said.

This project is only the first phase of construction. As more donations come in, the college plans on expanding the facility. Future projects may include indoor basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, a gymnastics facility and a rowing center. But one addition, an Olympic-sized pool, had to be cut from the original project due to financial reasons.

“They’re all really important, but we had to, because of financial reasons, really look at our priority and to do it well,” Semmler said. “We’re really trying to get this first phase done because it’s so sorely needed.”

Before construction can begin, 500 new parking spaces must be built to replace the M-Lot, between the Garden Apartments and Boothroyd Hall, the proposed building site of the Athletics and Events Center. The parking spaces may replace the tennis courts near the entrance of campus and Boardman Place. There are tentative plans to expand S-Lot and Z-Lot and perhaps the Towers lot.

“[Parking] is top priority,” Sgrecci said. “In the perfect time table, if we had all our approvals in place by next spring, by the time the students leave the campus we could start both. We could start relocating the parking, and we could also start working on the building and the outdoor field.”

The Athletics and Events Center will be completed in 20 months. If construction begins as planned this May, the center will be completed in December 2009. The new School of Business is expected to be completed in December, allowing students to begin taking classes there this spring.

The college will spend $2 million for the School of Business in bonds, donations and college revenue.

“We are fortunate each year to generate more income than we have expense, so we can reinvest that money into the campus,” Sgrecci said.

The rest of the project, $17 million, will be paid for by donations.

Dorothy Park, president of the Park Foundation, made the lead gift for the new business building, donating $10 million. Because of her generosity, the college would like to honor her and her husband by naming the school for them, Semmler said.

“A lot of donors want more recognition than the Parks do,” she said. “But for us, they’ve been so pivotal that we’d really like to honor them.”

But that does not mean there will be two Park schools on campus.

“We would name it in such a way to distinguish between the [Roy H. Park School of Communications and the business school],” Semmler said. “But we don’t have a specific name yet.”

Both the new School of Business and Gateway Building are applying for Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the highest certification offered by the U.S. Green Building Council. The council bases its certification on a detailed scorecard system, which examines waste management, automated indoor environmental controls and site selection.

Sgrecci said he believes if both buildings are certified, it will make the college stand out.

“There’s a very good chance that we might be the first college or university to achieve that,” he said.

With months to go before the campaign officially ends, Semmler said she is happy with the college’s progress.

“We’ve been at this for a while,” Semmler said. “I’m just really pleased with the way it’s going, especially because we’re trying to raise money for two facilities, and I’m looking forward to getting to the finish line.”