Union College Opening New Public Safety Building

Sep 7, 2018

A new campus safety building will be opening next year adjacent to the Union College campus in Schenectady.

Falling in line with revitalizing and redevelopment initiatives across Schenectady, Union College's Campus Safety Department will soon have a new facility for student and community outreach.

The college recently purchased the Bank of America building at Nott Street and Van Vranken Avenue, directly across from one of the campus’s main entrances.  Christopher Hayen is director of Campus Safety.  "It's gonna allow us to have a second location, which will be nice, and on top of that, when we moved down to College Park Hall they put us a little bit of a ways from the current, you know the main grounds. This'll bring us back a little bit closer.”

The private college with 2,200 students paid $135,000 for the 2,500-square-foot building, vacant since 2013. Union says it received a $25,000 grant toward the purchase from the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority. "It provides us a little more space. We'll be dividing up the department a little bit so it will give the group that will be in that building, which is gonna be the main headquarters, more space to work."

Spokesman Phil Wajda says Union is grateful for support from Metroplex and the Wright family Foundation. 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.  Wajda says Class of '86 graduate Kelly Williams is lead donor for the project. "Kelly's support not only helps us to renovate the physical space. It's also gonna help us with programming and educational funds that will ensure that we are a thought leader on the top of this campus and community safety nationally."

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. "We're really excited about this weekend. We have the inauguration of our 19th president, David R. Harris, he's officially named president on July 1 of this year. We have hundreds of people coming from all over the country, representing dozens of colleges, and it's an exciting time for Union."

The 48-year-old Harris becomes the first African American president of Union College in its 223-year history. "With respect to Union College, I actually don't think about it that much, the race piece. Wherever I go I'm black, so it's not the same to me as it is to other people."