By JONAS MILLER
The College of Saint Rose is planning to renew the lease on their second-largest residence hall, according to multiple school officials.
Brubacher Hall, one of two buildings designated specifically for first-year students, belongs to the State University of New York at Albany, but has been leased to the College for the last 17 years. The current lease is set to terminate on October 24, 2020, a full 20 years after the original document was signed.
UAlbany spokesperson Karl Luntta said the school is not in a position to disclose plans regarding any future agreements, but that the relationship with the College as always been professional, constructive and collegial.
According the 2009 lease amendment, the College is required to ask for renewal in writing at least two years prior to the termination of the original document.
UAlbany will then have six months to respond to the request.
This year, the lease mandates that Saint Rose pay $939,000 for their use of Brubacher Hall, a 46 percent increase from the first year’s payment almost two decades ago. By the time the current agreement expires, the College will be paying upwards of $1,000,000 for the building, which breaks down into a monthly payment greater than the salary of many professors in higher education.
Brubacher currently houses 244 students, but could hold as many as 305, according the Area Coordinator of the building, Mathew Vincent.
Vincent lives in the building, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the students as a full time Residence Life staff member. He also serves a professional mentor and supervisor for the building’s 11 Resident Assistants.
Debra Polley, the College’s vice president for finance and administration, said the money students pay in housing fees goes into the school’s “general fund,” and does not go directly to payments for the buildings they live in. According to the College’s website, the cost of a standard double room is $6,214 per year.
Whether or not a student’s housing cost is covered under their financial aid does not change the fact that the College receives a little more than $6,000 from every student who lives in Brubacher, with the exception of the students who serve as Resident Assistants, as well as the seven students who occupy the building’s triple and quad rooms, of which there is one of each.
When the building is full, students living in its double rooms will pay a total of $1,851,772, more than double the 2017 rent. Despite the building currently sitting below its max capacity, Polley and Dennis McDonald, the College’s vice president for student affairs, expect the number to rise in the coming semester. Beginning this fall, any student who lives more than 60 miles away from Saint Rose will be required to live on campus for their freshmen year.
This a rule that has been implemented at several other schools in the area, including Siena College, where full-time students are required to live on campus pending any medical or financial exceptions. McDonald said the hope is that the new rule will allow Saint Rose to utilize their residence buildings to the fullest extent possible.
In addition to housing first year students, the building’s basement holds a large portion of the College’s Art Department. The department currently utilizes 17,000 square feet of the building.
Although Saint Rose has been paying UAlbany upwards of $436,200 since the beginning of the lease in 2000, Brubacher was not always solely Saint Rose’s.
“When we first began to lease the building, we leased a portion of the building,” said McDonald, who is currently in his 32nd year at Saint Rose. “SUNY still housed some students there, so we shared the building at that point. There was hope to do some mixed programming, but it never really worked out.”
The only thing UAlbany is currently responsible for in regards to the building is snow removal. Saint Rose is in charge of maintenance and repairs, as well as custodial services. There are provisions in the lease that allow for reimbursement by UAlbany should repairs exceed $400,000. According the Polley, the College is currently in the process of replacing shower basins in all of the building’s bathrooms.
Since taking over the entire building, the College has completed several major projects including redoing all of the bathrooms, remodeling the main lounge, commonly referred to as the Knights Lounge, and replacing all of the windows, a project so large it had to be approved by UAlbany.
According to Custodial Services Manager Katrina Myers, cleaning Brubacher is one of the larger tasks her department handles on campus.
Myers said that eight hours a day are committed to cleaning the building, almost double the amount dedicated to Centennial Hall, the College’s newest residence hall. This job is made even more difficult because of the lack of elevator in Brubacher.
Each floor has a dedicated custodial staff member, in charge of cleaning the hallways, taking out the trash, and cleaning the bathrooms. Each task is done on a daily basis, excluding weekends.
For more information on the housing experience at Saint Rose, visit the school’s website, www.strose.edu.