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It's official at last.

Medaille College will build a $4.6 million student housing complex on the far east end of its Agassiz Circle campus.

The three-story, L-shaped facility, to include a wing of two-bedroom suites and a wing of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, will be the first on-campus housing in the independent school's 32-year history.

Approved Tuesday by the city Planning Board, it will accommodate 136 students.

"There has been an incremental growth in Medaille's residence life community," said college President Kevin I. Sullivan, noting that, until nine years ago, the institution was strictly a commuter school.

Today, 175 Medaille students live in 11 college-owned properties and several leased facilities, Sullivan said.

"Our residential population is up 52 percent from a year ago," he noted.

Sullivan credited "an upturn in Canadian students enrolled in our elementary education certificate program" as well as increased interest by students from Rochester and Syracuse for the surge in resident enrollment.

Groundbreaking is planned for November, with completion expected in time for the 2001-2002 academic year.

Medaille's decision to build housing on its 13-acre campus comes after several years' deliberation by college trustees -- and the opposition of some neighbors to the college's purchase of houses along West Humboldt Parkway for student residences.

Design of the new facility, to feature a stone facade, is K2M Architects of Clarence.

Apartments and suites within the facility will have Internet access at each bedside. The apartment wing will include a lobby, snack bar, computer and laundry rooms.

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