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Science, math complex adds up to big first step at Buffalo State

A ceremonial groundbreaking today for a $110 million science and math complex is just the start of what lies ahead at Buffalo State College.

Nearly $350 million in capital projects is scheduled for the Elmwood Avenue campus over the next five years. In addition to the math and science building, they include new housing, a technology building and -- college officials hope -- a new 4,000-seat athletic stadium.

"The campus has seen nothing like this since it was built in 1927," Stanley Kardonsky, vice president of finance and management, said of the ambitious roster of projects. "This is totally redoing the campus."

Although the economy remains weak, the state already has allocated much of the capital funding during previous budget cycles, Kardonsky said.

The new, 224,000-square-foot math and science building also will house the Great Lakes Center and a new planetarium.

The first phase -- totaling $58 million -- will include a 96,000-square-foot addition along the west side of the current Science Building, near the Scajaquada Expressway. It will be completed by summer of 2012.

The second phase, totaling $52 million, will involve renovating the building's north wing, demolishing its south wing and building a second addition along the south side of the building.

The entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2015.

"The new facility will significantly enhance our intensive, applied multidisciplinary science and math programs at Buffalo State College," interim President Dennis K. Ponton said.

The college is in the middle of reconstructing the main campus quad at a cost of $8.2 million and expects to begin work next month on a $48 million student housing project on a campus parking lot at Grant and Letchworth streets, near Campus West School.

Next fall, Buffalo State is scheduled to make way for a new $40.3 million technology center to provide computer labs and research space.

While Buffalo State officials consider a new 4,000-seat football stadium a "high priority," no state funding has been allocated for that. School officials, however, are eyeing a site and have been negotiating with the city to acquire a former steel plant next to the campus on Dart Street, where the city stores impounded and abandoned vehicles.

e-mail: jrey@buffnews.com

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