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The Campus Center’s Expanding – Adding a Surprise for Students

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Some changes are being made to the original campus center reconstruction plan.

In an area near the 518 Market, around where Cusato’s Pizzeria and the H2O Zone used to be before construction began, a Starbucks will be added.

Stephen Pearse, director of Auxiliary Services at the University at Albany, said the decision to add a Starbucks is relatively new.

“Originally we didn’t know what this was going to be” he said, “It was going to be more of a generic coffee station.”

Scott Birge, the director of Campus Center Management, said that Starbucks could affect other eateries on campus.

“We may or may not keep Jazzman’s,” Birge said.

Bathrooms will be added near that location as well, including a women’s, men’s and family bathroom.

The area that was originally supposed to be a two-story fitness center will now be made into something else entirely.

“The top part is now going to be a meeting room that will be a little larger than the Assembly Hall,” Birge said. “The bottom portion of it is going to be… a lounge.”

Birge explained that the lounge will have an open front. He hopes that there will be a bookshelf, board games, a television and a fake fireplace.

The end date for the project has been extended. It was originally supposed to be finished by early 2017, but the expected completion date has now been pushed back a few months.

“That got pushed back a little bit because of some of the changes that went on,” Birge said.

The project is still expected to be finished in 2017.

“That might be as early as January or it might be as late as the summertime,” Birge said. “The key is once the construction is complete, then there’s a whole lot of fitting out to do.”

He was referring to furnishing the new area, preparing the kitchen and making sure everything is ready for the grand opening.

According to Pearse, once the building is ready the process of opening could take two to three months.

The new addition will have a special place for ethnic food. Southeast Asian cuisine company Star Ginger has been confirmed for this location. There will be three separate styles of food.

“It’s got Thai cuisine, it’s got a noodle bowl and it’s got your more typical Asian – beef teriyaki, General Tso, that kind of stuff,” Pearse said.

The budget for the entire project, both reconstructing the original Campus Center and expanding it, is $62 million, which includes design, equipment, and asbestos removal costs.. The process is on budget according to John Giarrusso, associate vice president of finance for Facilities Management.

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