PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – As Pace University celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Pleasantville campus on Wednesday, it also broke ground on a project that will heavily impact its next half-century.
State, county and local joined university officials in the first phase of Pace's new Master Plan that will transform and revitalize the 200-acre campus. The $100 million project is designed to enhance the quality of the campus's experience, and will be completed over the next five to eight years.
“As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of our Pleasantville campus this year, we now prepare for the next half century with a major transformation of our campus,” Pace President Stephen Friedman said. “This project, together with new academic programs and related enhancements, represents a significant investment in and commitment to the future.”
The plan is one of the largest construction projects under way in the entire Hudson Valley region, and is expected to create more than 550 construction jobs in Westchester County. As the county’s 13th largest employer, Pace contributes approximately $64 million annually to the county’s economy in direct and indirect spending.
“Today, we break ground on a project that will make Pace even better, not just in terms of modern 'green' buildings, but in terms of what it will offer its future students,” County Executive Rob Astorino said. “Apart from the Tappan Zee Bridge project, this is the largest construction project going on in our county today.”
The project will enable Pace University to consolidate functions that are now split between campuses in Pleasantville and Briarcliff. Currently, 690 students reside on the Pleasantville campus and 590 live at Briarcliff. The 35-acre Briarcliff campus, which Pace opened in 1977, is for sale. While no classes are taught in Briarcliff, the plan will allow athletic and certain administration functions that are now there to be brought to Pleasantville.
The first phase of the project, “Phase1A,” will entail creation of two new residential buildings, an expanded student center, the relocation of the environmental center and athletic facilities necessary to replace those being vacated at the Briarcliff campus. Improvements to the infrastructure, more open green space and improving pedestrian accessibility are also part of the planned enhancements.
Pace Class of 2014 President Qadry Harris acknowledged that while the construction will be an inconvenience for the students currently enrolled at the university, it is crucial the student body recognizes the positive impact the project will have for future generations.
“With these enhancements, Pace pride will grow, I’m sure,” he said.
Pace anticipated the planned improvements to have minimal visible impact on the surrounding area, promises that the 115-acre internal wooded buffer that wraps around the north, east and southeast portions of the campus will remain undisturbed.
“The plan, which is the result of extensive study and analysis, adheres to sustainable development standards in a manner that is sensitive to the existing environmental conditions of the site and the surrounding community,” William McGrath, senior vice president and chief administrative officer at Pace, said.