Genesee Community College Facilities Master Plan Could Feature Athletic and Arts Improvements, Architect Reports

Improvements to Genesee Community College’s athletic facilities and arts center could be important to the College’s growth, according to architect Robert Joy, who is coordinating the preparation of Genesee’s new Facilities Master Plan. Mr. Joy, of Joy, McCoola & Zilch, a Glens Falls architectural firm specializing in higher education, said that new athletic fields, a community wellness center, an outdoor soccer/lacrosse stadium, and expanded arts center could attract more students, provide more academic opportunities, and serve the community.

The Facilities Master Plan will guide the College’s capital planning through much of the next decade. The State University of New York requires each campus to analyze long-term facilities needs and complete a master plan. State capital funding for campus improvements is directed only toward projects identified in facilities master plans as high priority.

The new Facilities Master Plan will be especially important in light of several trends, Mr. Joy told trustees. “The area around the College is becoming somewhat more ‘suburban’, he said. “This can be a very positive trend, but it will be important to preserve the character of the campus as development occurs.”

Also, Mr. Joy reminded trustees, the College is collaborating with two other organizations on campus-based projects. The College and the Genesee County Economic Development Center are working to establish a “Med-Tech” park on the south side of Hawley Drive. The Med-Tech Park would provide space for emerging biomedical and biotechnology companies, as well as a variety of opportunities for cooperation between these industries and the College’s health care programs.

The College and the Genesee Area YMCA are studying the possibility of a community sports and wellness center on the Batavia Campus. The Genesee Community College Foundation is also preparing to build additional student housing at the east end of the campus. All of these initiatives fit with the proposed Master Plan, but the College needs to be sure that architectural consistency with the existing campus buildings is maintained for these and other projects, Mr. Joy said.

Most important, according to Mr. Joy, is Genesee’s need to remain competitive with other colleges and universities. This could mean several important upgrades to the Batavia Campus:
• New baseball, softball, and soccer fields located in areas with built-up turf. The soils on much of the Batavia Campus are poor and, in many instances, only a few inches of soil separate playing field surfaces from rock.
• An outdoor soccer/lacrosse stadium with synthetic turf, bleachers, and stadium fencing, suitable for college and community use.
• A wellness building, which could include a field house, modern fitness center, classroom space, offices for coaches, and press box for an outdoor stadium. A wellness building could include YMCA space should a campus-based YMCA facility be constructed in the future.
• A teaching art gallery located in the Genesee Center for the Arts.
• A flexible “black box” theatre.
• Refurbishing of floor surfaces, lighting, lockers, and other spaces in the existing gymnasium.
• Modernization of biology labs.

“Facilities like these could become a reality over the long term, and be important not just to the College, but to the entire community,” Mr. Joy said.

The Board of Trustees is expected to continue discussion of the Facilities Master Plan, and adopt a Plan in the months ahead.