Council gets update on apartment-style housing

Reporter Editor

Construction of apartment-style housing for UB graduate students is on time and on budget, according to an update presented Nov. 4 to the UB Council by Dennis Black, interim vice president for student affairs.

The first 115 units in the project, being constructed at the corner of Sweet Home and Chestnut Ridge roads by the UB Foundation on land owned by it, are expected to be completed for occupancy for the Fall 1998 semester, and a number of units will be ready in time for the university's annual new-student Open House in April, he said.

"The project...is designed for a student population not addressed before-graduate students, married students, students with children," Black said.

The apartment buildings predominantly will offer two-bedroom units, with some one-bedroom units and units for students with disabilities, he added.

Students were consulted in plans for the housing, said Black, and in a survey of upperclassmen, more than 50 percent said that living in university-run apartments or townhouses would be an option they would consider.

Black noted that plans already are on the books for the construction of apartment-style housing on the North Campus and building rehabilitations to create apartment-style housing on the South Campus.

The new housing on the North Campus, set to be ready for occupancy in Fall 1999, will be located near the old football stadium and Governor's Complex, and north of the bookstore. As the new housing becomes available on the North Campus, the university plans to shut down residence halls on the South Campus and rehabilitate some space into apartment-style housing. "We also have the possibility on the South Campus to build new facilities, if it's called for," Black added.

A third phase of construction that has been discussed would involve new housing on Skinnersville Road, Black said.

As the university enters the next construction phases, officials will consult further with students to ensure future projects meet their needs. Those needs, Black said, include child care on the North Campus, which "certainly is a high priority for us."

State money will not be used to finance the building projects. "We're looking to finance much of this through outside agencies or ourselves," Black added.

In other business, President William R. Greiner continued to discuss with the council the role he wants the group to take in the university's budget process.

He described how UB's operating budget has been allocated by SUNY, noting that budgets in the past have been done in a "very, very perfunctory fashion. Basically it's our computer talking to (SUNY's) computer."

Budget figures are based on the previous year's figures, with "modest adjustments" made for inflation and contractual obligations, such as salaries, Greiner added.

It has been a process with no input from the campus, "a very mechanical exercise," he added. "What we lose out of this is the planning process."

At the very least, Greiner noted, he would like the council to play a role in endorsing the university's budgetary priorities. "I want to begin the process and discipline" of reviewing UB's annual budget request, he said.

"I'd like to lay before you in the spring a preliminary plan...and begin to get advice from the council on how we might begin using the assets of the university....We need to function more as a board of trustees than the show-and-tell process we've had in the past."

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