By Amoni Haynes | March 26, 2021
The University of Albany is in the middle of a complex contracting bid with the state for a proposed $80-million, multiphase renovation of the Physical Education building that will include expanded gym facilities and other amenities.
University Spokesman Jordan Carleo-Evangelist explained that phase one of what will be a 10-year renovation includes the filling of the pool, as well as the installation of structural elements that will eventually support a new floor right above the pool. This new floor will come in later phases as it will be utilized to create more space for the fitness center.
The first phase is expected to be completed by 2022-2023. The other phases and what changes they may include were still being determined based on bid documents and available funding, said Carleo-Evangelist.
According to Carleo-Evangelist, each contract bid for the proposed renovation has to be vetted by a series of in-house and outside architects, engineers and construction managers to ensure the bidder meets all the required specifications of the project. The bidder then has to meet a variety of state regulations, which includes promoting business opportunities under the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Program and paying the correct prevailing wages to contractors.
From those qualified bids, the contract is awarded to the low bidder almost every time, Carleo-Evangelist said.
For the first phase, Carleo-Evangelist said the decision to add more space for the SEFCU fitness center was influenced by student usage data and feedback from students that the fitness center was too crowded.
In 2018-19, which was the last full non-COVID-impacted year, 4,983 students used the SEFCU Arena fitness center a total of 65,374 different times, an average of about 13.1 visits per student. The prior school year had a near similar usage of 4,916 students using the fitness center a total of 64,019 times, an average of 13 visits per student.