Cover Story

Project at a Glance

Higher education facilities around the US are facing the challenge of aging laboratories inside existing buildings – including Kunsela Hall and Donovan Hall at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. With an increased emphasis on improving STEM education, these buildings will be undergoing a major transformation through the generosity of funding made possible by the Francis A. Wilcox Trust and several other donors and funding sources.

In an effort to increase enrollment, meet workforce development needs of our corporate partners and to provide our students with access to state-of-the-art teaching facilities and equipment, SUNY Poly is taking steps to embark upon an initiative that includes sustainability and enrichment. 

Mission and Goals

With SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s mission to emphasize excellence in teaching, scholarship, research and community engagement, the university is significantly upgrading its STEM laboratories on campus.

The goals of the project include:

• Provide new state-of-the-art teaching laboratories and associated support spaces within the footprint of Kunsela Hall and Donovan Hall

• Provide a much-needed update to the sprinkler system and new HVAC system in all three floors of the C wing in Kunsela Hall

• Renovating hallway spaces and restrooms to meet ADA accessibility requirements and outfit with large window banks at the entrance to the wing and labs

Renovation Challenges and Solutions

Challenge – The greatest challenge presented by this project is the timeline of the award process, project phasing, and construction.

Phase 1 – Fall 2023: The four teaching labs in the Wilcox Wing in Kunsela Hall and Wilcox Physics Lab in Donovan Hall will open with new equipment and aesthetic renovations completed.

Phase 2 – Fall 2024: The capital grant renovations are scheduled to be completed.

Solution – Leveraging the philanthropic gift from the Francis A. Wilcox Trust and other State and private funding sources, SUNY Poly has submitted a project proposal to SUNY in the amount of $18M for a capital grant. This grant will enable a full renovation to all three floors of the C wing in Kunsela Hall and teaching spaces within Donovan Hall.

Challenge – SUNY Poly does not currently offer a formal degree in physics, it offers a physics minor. It is proven that physics programs have a deep and broad impact on the quality of engineering programs at any polytechnic institute. 

Solution – SUNY Poly is committed to establishing a physics program that will enrich student understanding of current and future generations of electronics, materials, nanotechnology, quantum physics, and other cutting-edge fields.