The Pleasantville Examiner ran a front page story on Pace’s consolidation plans in their November 30 – December 6 issue.
Read the full article below.
Pace Considers Consolidating into P’ville
Plan in Works to Sell Briarcliff Site
By Martin Wilbur
Pace University Officials were poised to unveil a consolidation plan that calls for the institution’s Briarcliff campus to be sold and the construction of new dormitory units and other improvements at its Pleasantville site.
William McGrath, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Pace, told The Examiner last week the plans include building new dorms to accommodate about 750 additional students at the Pleasantville Campus to replace roughly 600 beds that would be lost with a sale of the 34-acre parcel in Briarcliff.
Another 100 Pace students currently housed in Eastview would be brought to Pleasantville, McGrath said. Currently about half of the 1,500 full-time students that require accommodations live at the 200-acre Pleasantville campus.
Long-term consolidation, part of the university’s master plan, would end the need for the student shuttle bus service that transports students between the university’s Briarcliff residences and Pleasantville, about two miles apart, he said. Aside from the dormitories, Briarcliff also contains administrative offices.
McGrath said the project cost and the type of organization that would be interested in buying the Briarcliff campus has not been determined. However, Pace will soon test the market for that parcel.
While the university has seen many changes throughout its history, McGrath said this would be the most significant.
“It would be the most important one,” he said. “The campus needs a parking redesign and the relocation of residences is a necessity. It’s very much needed by the university.”
As part of the same plan, the Pleasantville campus would be made more pedestrian friendly, with the introduction of new pathways, the addition of green space or “quads” and the reconfiguration of its parking areas to have four or five main lots that are closer to the perimeter of the campus. Enhancement of some of the sports facilities is also proposed.
McGrath said Pace representatives have officials from the three neighboring municipalities of the preliminary plans –the Town of Mount Pleasant and the villages of Pleasantville and Briarcliff. The Mount Pleasant Planning Board would evaluate the university’s application and would need to grant approval for plans to move forward.
Pace hopes to submit a formal application which would require wetlands, steep slopes and storm water studies under the state Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), to the town no later than May, he said.
“That’s the plan, to have by the end of the academic year a filing with the town and a formal state review of the issues raised,” McGrath said.
He anticipated that the entire process from the time of application submission through the end of construction could be about five years.
Mount Pleasant Supervisor, Joan Maybury confirmed that Pace officials notified the town and surrounding villages recently. Without having a formal application, she was hesitant to speculate what impact the consolidation would have on the surrounding area. Maybury said the university’s representatives have also mentioned that early next year they hope to sit down with community groups and town personnel to discuss impact on services, traffic and related issues.
A recent released sent out by the university mentioned a study that found consolidating the two campuses would reduce traffic and air pollution throughout Mount Pleasant. The consolidation would eliminate about 3,000 round trips for buses annually between Pleasantville and Briarcliff, and significantly reduce traffic of private vehicles.
McGrath said another key advantage of the plan would be the reduction from three entrances to two on Route 117. There has been speculation that the university would add an entrance but there would be improved traffic flow on the campus by eliminating one of the access points, he said.
The plan for the improvement of the sports facilities includes adding a new softball field and six new tennis courts, placing turf on the football field and converting it to a multipurpose facility that is ringed by a 400-meter track. There would also be seating for 1,200 spectators.
Pace University has occupied their current acreage since 1962 when Pace alumnus Wayne Marks, a former CEO of the General Foods Corp., and his wife, Helen, donated their Pleasantville estate to what was then Pace College.