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All the attention is on the University at Buffalo’s growth on the downtown medical campus, but check out what’s happening at the other state school across town.

SUNY Buffalo State unveils a new $36.5 million academic building today, the latest installment in the ongoing construction boom on the Elmwood Avenue campus.

The new Burchfield Penney Art Center opened a few years ago.

There was new student housing in 2011.

Spring came with a rehabed Student Union and Phase I of a new math and science complex.

When all is said and done, $350 million in new campus construction and renovation will have been completed at SUNY Buffalo State between 2008 and 2018. More than two-thirds of that work is already done.

“People have a sense of the liveliness of Buffalo State and a sense that the campus is continuing to develop to meet the needs of students,” said interim President Howard Cohen. “I think people take a lot of pride in that.”

The campus makeover actually started several years ago under former President Muriel A. Howard, when her administration accumulated most of the needed funding over a period of state budget cycles.

And while the campus construction spree may raise eyebrows given budget cuts to higher education in recent years, much of the funding for these capital projects is borrowed by the state.

The work has been plenty noticeable on campus over the past few years, as students, staff and faculty have had to find their way around the construction vehicles and laborers.

“All of it is really with an eye toward what the student needs in order to have a complete education,” Cohen said.

The college today is officially opening its new three-story Technology Building, located on the former site of a laundry and bakery building on campus.

The Technology Building will house the departments of Engineering Technology on the first floor; Computer Information Systems on the second floor; and Fashion and Textile Technology on the third-floor, explained Rita Zientek, interim dean for the college’s School of Professions.

It not only includes more classroom space and amenities, but cutting-edge equipment to train the students enrolled in these popular programs, Zientek said.

The building – designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative – also features 221 rooftop solar panels and 5,000 square feet of slow-growing greenery on the roof to reduce storm water runoff and help insulate the building, Zientek said.

A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 12:15 p.m.

But there’s more to come at Buffalo State.

In fact, Cohen recently told the campus community that the school is looking at ways to improve the Grant Street entrance to the college, or its “second front door.”

“The campus has a variety of needs and opportunities that could be situated there,” Cohen said, “additional student housing, an alumni and visitor center, additional parking and community partnership spaces, to name the most obvious.”

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SUNY Buffalo State projects

The new Technology Building opening Thursday at SUNY Buffalo State is the latest in more than $300 million worth of projects completed or planned for the Elmwood Avenue campus.

The following project list includes pricetag and completion date.

Burchfield Penney Art Center ($33 million) Completed fall 2008

Student Union Quad rehab ($8.2 million) Completed fall 2010

Student apartments ($45 million) Completed fall 2011

Rockwell Hall renovations ($9.5 million) Completed fall 2012

Student Union rehab ($5.6 million) Completed spring 2013

Science-Math Building (Phase I) ($52.3 million) Completed spring 2012

Residence hall renovations ($7.6 million) Completed summer 2013

Technology Building ($36.5 million) Completed summer 2013

Houston Gym renovations ($28 million) To be completed summer 2014

Science-Math Building (Phase II) ($30.9 million) To be completed fall 2015

Caudell Hall renovations ($21.2 million) Completion date spring 2016

Science-Math Building (Phase III) ($25.5 million) Completion date winter 2018-19

Source: SUNY Buffalo State

email: jrey@buffnews.com