A former bank building that will house Union’s Campus Safety Department will be called the Williams Center for Campus Community Safety when it opens next year.
Last June, the College agreed to purchase the Bank of America building at Nott Street and Van Vranken Avenue, directly across from one of the campus’s main entrances.
Union paid $135,000 for the 2,500-square-foot building, which has been vacant since 2013. The College received a $25,000 grant toward the purchase from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.
Metroplex officials view the project as critical to their efforts to redevelop lower Nott Street and the surrounding area. Recent projects include the $3 million renovation of the county’s former Department of Social Services building into apartments and Mohawk Harbor, a $150 million residential, office and retail development on the Mohawk River. The Golub Corporation headquarters and College Park Hall are nearby.
Following an extensive renovation scheduled to begin in December, Union will move most operations of its Campus Safety Department to the site, including its 26-member security force, in time for the fall 2019 term. A number of services provided by the department, including vehicle registration; transportation and ID card processing; and 24-hour accessibility and video monitoring, will remain at the current location in College Park Hall.
The lead gift for the project was provided by Kelly Williams ’86, founder of a private equity firm. A member of Union’s Board of Trustees since 2008, Williams chairs the board’s Administration and Finance Committee and headed the search for Union’s new president, David R. Harris.
Williams envisions the center hosting special programs and events aimed at educating campus and the broader community on critical issues. Plans call for the space to be used for meetings between safety officials from colleges across the region and local emergency providers. Topics could include mass notification, emergency planning, event management and incident investigation.
The new building is also supported by the Wright Family Foundation, a longtime proponent of Union whose mission is to “provide funding in support of neighborhood revitalization, jobs and career support, education and social needs.”
College officials cited the presence along the corridor of Golub Corp. and Ellis Hospital, among others, as one of the factors in the College’s decision to purchase the 60-year-old property in the city’s Northside neighborhood.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the College to improve the quality of life on Nott Street and the immediate area north of our campus,” said Christopher Hayen, director of Campus Safety. “With our high visibility, the move will bolster public safety in the area and help anchor the city’s revitalization efforts.”