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Downtown Center a symbol of the future

State and local dignitaries joined President Lois B. DeFleur on Monday for the official opening of the University Downtown Center. About 200 guests were on hand for a reception and tours of the facility.

“This center is a symbol that celebrates our history and our future,” DeFleur said.

The Washington Street facility is home to the College of Community and Public Affairs and puts the faculty, staff and students affiliated with its programs in human development, public administration and social work close to the agencies and organizations with which they collaborate.

The 74,400-square-foot, four-level brick-and-limestone building includes a three-story atrium that opens onto an exterior plaza and landscaped outdoor areas. The center boasts 11 state-of-the-art classrooms as well as conference areas, CCPA and Broome Community College offices, a coffee kiosk and a student lounge.

Sen. Thomas W. Libous, R-Binghamton, said he expects the building to serve as an inspiration for businesses as well as for young people. “This, we hope, is only the beginning … of a rebirth of the urban core,” he said.

Built at a cost of $29 million, this first-of-its-kind project for the State University Construction Fund was bid as several contracts, allowing construction of the shell of the building to begin before the

The new $29 million facility, as seen from Washington Avenue in Binghamton.
interior design work was completed. Additional contracts were awarded for the interior and site work after the building shell was in progress, fast tracking the entire project to meets its ambitious deadline. Designs for the facility were unveiled in December 2005 and the building opened on time and on budget.

Working with the University’s Physical Facilities staff and a campus planning committee, HOLT Architects of Ithaca designed the building to fit into the Binghamton cityscape and blend with the downtown historic district. The project was managed by  LeChase Construction Services Inc. of Rochester.

The center is certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance “green” buildings. LEED features in the building include high-efficiency mechanical equipment and lighting, energy-efficient windows, daylight views to reduce the need for artificial lighting and recycled building materials.

Located near the confluence of the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers, the facility features a series of landscaped outdoor spaces and a plaza connection to the City’s River Walk.

The building has its own library and Information Commons, which offers reference assistance, 36 public PCs, 24 laptops for daily

University President Lois B. DeFleur, left, talks with state Sen. Thomas W. Libous and Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo during the opening reception at the University Downtown Center.
loans, scholarly journals, group study rooms and movable shelving for books to maximize storage space. It also has an adaptive technology room for students with special needs.

The floor design in the lobby reflects the history of the area and features curves and patterns that are the outlines of other structures that previously stood on the site. A representative of the Onondaga Nation attended Monday’s reception.

State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, said she’s excited not only to see the dreams for the building realized, but also by the as-yet-unimagined possibilities it will create.

Lupardo quoted counterculture poet Tuli Kupferberg: “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.”



Open House Planned
The campus community is invited to attend an open house at the University Downtown Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5.

The center will also be open to the public during regular building hours, which are 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the week, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Visitors will be able to access the building through the Washington Street entrance, where they will receive a visitor’s pass. The building is staffed by New York State University Police and security guards.


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Last Updated: 10/14/08