The Schenectady County Legislature unanimously voted Tuesday, Sept. 9, to lease a parcel of land located at 117 Washington Ave., where a student dormitory for Schenectady County Community College will be constructed.
Despite concerns from several community members about the building not meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards, the Legislature said seeking this type of certification would significantly delay the project, which they said is necessary for the continued success of the college.
Earlier this year, the Legislature adopted a resolution to build all county buildings more than 5,000 square feet to LEED standards. However, following a public hearing on the proposed construction, several legislators said the building would not be operated by the county and therefore does not need to meet LEED standards.
I commend Schenectady County for its recently adopted green agenda, which includes a commitment to seek LEED certification in new construction, said Patricia Rush, a member of the Schenectady County League of Woman Voters Environmental Committee. "I hope the county will follow its own policies with practice by using its considerable powers of persuasion to influence the construction practices of the new dormitory."
"The fact that it is not LEED does not mean it isn't a great building," said Joseph Stellato, of Columbia Development Companies, which is building the dorm. He said the developers have taken measures to construct the building in an environmentally friendly manner. He said many of the materials used on the project are from local companies, cutting down on transportation of the goods. Stellato also said the building would contain recycled materials that would typically be deposited in a landfill.
"We need this housing now to stay competitive," said Vladia Boniewski, director of development for the Schenectady County Community College Foundation. "We are not able to open a project of this nature in January." She urged the Legislature to adopt the resolution to lease the parcel of land.