Utica College held a ceremonial “groundbreaking” ceremony on Oct. 10 for Pioneer Village, which will offer more living options to UC students.
President Laura Casamento welcomed the college’s partners in the project, including Rob Palmieri, mayor, City of Utica; Bob Calli, executive director of the Utica Municipal Housing Authority and the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners; Chuck Cronin, Axiom Capital, the primary funder for the project; Jonathan Deforest, Steve Obermayer and Jonathan Lochner, BBL Construction Services; and Jack Spaeth, executive director of the Utica Industrial Development Agency.
The plan calls for three student residence buildings, containing twelve gender-inclusive suites. Each suite will be apartment-style with four bedrooms each, two full bathrooms, a kitchen with a dishwasher, and a washer and dryer in each unit. The plan also includes a separate community building that will feature a multi-media room, conference space, kitchen and other amenities. The community building and residential buildings will be located next to the tennis courts, near the Todd and Jennifer Hutton Sports and Recreation Center.
“We are very proud of the fact that Pioneer Village is the product of an innovative public-private partnership between the College, the Utica Municipal Housing Authority, and a development consortium that is covering the full cost of construction,” President Laura Casamento said. "This is a new era for student housing at UC."
For the past few years, UC has rented space at the nearby Ramada Inn for students, providing busing to and from campus. The college has renovated and leased half of the hotel, in an area that is secure from the public and other hotel guests. It has been UC’s goal to bring those students back to campus.
“Pioneer Village is another example of Utica College doing what we do best: delivering an exceptional educational experience at a price our students can afford,” said Casamento.
The new buildings will be offered to juniors, seniors and graduate students. The college currently has seven residence halls on campus, including two buildings for first-year students. This project will allow students to remain fully engaged in campus life and participate in community events.
Construction of the units is already in progress.