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St. Bonaventure University

State awards St. Bonaventure nearly $3 million for renovations to Plassmann Hall

Mar 25, 2021 |

St. Bonaventure University has been awarded a Higher Education Capital Matching Grant worth nearly $3 million to renovate Plassmann Hall.

“We realize that improvements to every floor in Plassmann are long overdue so we’re grateful to not only the state for its support, but to Ann Lehman and Dr. David Hilmey for their efforts in writing the grant proposal,” said Dr. Joseph Zimmer, acting president of St. Bonaventure.

Lehman is associate vice president for grants and research, and chief of staff. Hilmey is dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

For every $1 in state matching funds, private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York must provide a minimum of $3 in support of their projects. The total cost of the Plassmann project is estimated at $11.5 million. The HECap grant to SBU is $2.875 million.

The project will create more modern and instructionally appropriate classrooms, add student gathering spaces, student-instructor and student-student collaboration spaces and create faculty offices that allow for proximity to classes and collaborative research among faculty across the liberal arts, Zimmer said.

Preliminary work is expected to begin later this year with anticipated project completion by the end of 2024.

Most renovation work, including interior construction, electrical, plumbing, and the heating and air conditioning system, will take place during summers to allow for use of instructional and office spaces during the academic year.

“Renovation of the first floor was completed in a timely fashion over the summer so we are confident in our timeline,” Zimmer said.

The project includes renovations and space reallocations of the basement, second and third floors. Faculty offices will be moved from the basement to the second and third floors and classrooms will be renovated and resized on the second and third floors with classrooms added in the basement.

Additionally, the infrastructure, including HVAC, will be updated, air conditioning will be added to the building and the original windows will be replaced. While the Plassmann Annex will benefit from infrastructure and cosmetic updates, the vast majority of the work will be on the original Plassmann Hall.

The project is a key element of SBU’s recently completed University Master Plan, a campus-wide plan for physical facilities, and a new strategic plan for 2021 to 2026.

The project builds on renovations made to the building’s first floor in 2017 and 2018, which included a new Student Success Center and accessibility improvements, such as an elevator that provides access to all floors of the building. A 2018 HECAP grant funded the accessibility renovations.

Buffalo-based Clark Patterson Lee has been selected as the lead architect on the project.

A total of 35 private colleges in New York state were awarded $57.2 million in HECap funding. Since the program’s inception, HECap grants have created well over $1 billion in infrastructure spending across New York and more than 14,000 jobs.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.