UAlbany to consider dorm relocation at request of neighbors

In response to area residents concerns, the University at Albany is reconsidering its location of a 500-bed dormitory.

Concerns about noise and other distractions related to college students have been raised in recent months by neighbors to the University in McKownville and on Tudor and Cambridge Roads and the Eagle Hills neighborhood as the university planned the dorms for a spot located near Perimeter Road on the Western Avenue side.

While the dorms do not represent an necessarily mean there will be an increase in students, it is possible in the future, officials said.

We are going to reach out to elected officials and explore other options, said Karl Luntta, a representative of the university's public relations department. "We've taken a step back."

Luntta said the board of trustees for the state university system approved the transfer of 3.3 acres from Harriman State Office Building Campus on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in order to help push the dorms back as far from the perimeter of campus as possible. This would make the current site proposed "more viable," he said.

Some are calling for the new dorms to be built on that Harriman site outright.

Don Reeb, president of the McKownville Improvement Association, said other universities have had success with private hotel chains building dorms and renting them to students at comparable prices to what the school would charge. This would generate tax revenue for the City of Albany, Reeb said, and provides a win-win situation.

He said he is hopeful that the final decision, whatever it is, is away from residential neighborhoods.

"There is widespread agreement that the Tudor Road spot is not a good spot," Reeb said referring to the proposed location on the Western Avenue side. "They have to find someplace else."

Reeb also noted that he is glad that the university is taking time to have public meetings and said 20 years ago a decision might have been made without public input.

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