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Skidmore College

Skidmore trustees approve streamlined plan for science center

February 28, 2019

Skidmore College is moving forward with a new plan that will expedite construction of the Center for Integrated Sciences (CIS) while saving the College an estimated $13.3 million in construction costs.

At its meeting on Feb. 22, Skidmore’s Board of Trustees approved a new construction schedule and funding plan for the project — the single largest academic project in College history. The new plan also sets a clear timeframe to complete the project in 2024.

The new schedule consolidates all phases and reduces the projected construction cost to $127 million. The new project cost includes renovation of Old Dana, which would otherwise require a projected $20 million to address deferred maintenance issues. 

The new construction schedule also enables the College to minimize construction cost escalation by negotiating pricing with contractors earlier in the project and eliminating delays between phases.

Donna Ng, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, said that the College already has $98.8 million available for the project and outlined a funding plan for the remaining $28.2 million.

“We have said for some time that completing this project was our highest strategic priority – that this project is the single most important thing we can do to advance teaching and learning for our students and to make a strategic statement about Skidmore’s strength as a complete national liberal arts college,” Skidmore President Philip A. Glotzbach said. “CIS remains our most strategically important project. It is essential to the College’s future.”

Noting that Skidmore is fundamentally sound financially, Glotzbach explained that there is a distinction between the annual operating budget and how it works, and a large capital project like CIS. “They are not totally independent, but they are different, relying on different sources of funds,” he said.

The College began initial construction work on the CIS project in May 2017 and officially broke ground in October 2018. The new North Wing, which is currently under construction, is set for completion in 2020.

The 200,000-square-foot CIS will house 10 science departments and programs. The project aims to foster dialogue and facilitate interactions among scientific disciplines and with the humanities, arts and social sciences. It will include 46 research labs, as well as the IdeaLab, a creative maker space for students and faculty.

CIS is at the heart of Creating Our Future: The Campaign for Skidmore, an effort to raise $200 million by 2020 for Skidmore’s future. The College has already raised more than $177 million toward the campaign goal.

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