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Purchase College President Outlines Senior Center

HARRISON, N.Y. - Plans are in motion at SUNY Purchase to build a private, residential learning center for senior citizens that has the potential to nearly double scholarship funds and allow the school to hire more faculty, college President Thomas J. Schwarz said Thursday.

"This plan made enormous sense for our campus," Schwarz said.

The new on-campus tenants will become "immersed" in college life and become the college's "built-in audience" for various campus performances and activities, Schwarz said.

Senior Jason Kuang said he wasn't concerned with the proposal.

"I really don't think [the residents] are going to have that much of an impact on us students," Kuang said. "We just might be seeing more of them."

Schwarz said 75 percent of the money from the center's leases will go toward scholarships and the remaining 25 percent will help hire additional faculty.

The center will be built on an unused 40 acres on the southwest outskirts of the college, away from student housing or academic buildings. A statement provided by the college said between 250 and 385 units will be rented out, depending on market conditions and what future developers view as viable and sustainable.

Twenty percent of the units will also be set aside for affordable housing, the statement said. Westchester residents will be given priority for 50 percent of the housing.

Schwarz said the college would be able to double its amount of scholarship money doled out to students. The college currently provides close to $1.5 million, according to Schwarz.

"The ability to more than double our scholarships makes this important and successful," Schwarz said.

The management of the project will be given to the contract winner selected by the Purchase College Advancement Corporation, a not-for-profit organization. The PCAC will also serve as the liaison between the center and the college.

Purchase College will not build or operate the center and no state money will go toward its development, Schwarz said. The college expects to know more details involving a detailed proposal for the site within the next year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved the proposal for the center last month. The measure has also received support from Harrison Mayor and Supervisor Joan Walsh and other state officials.

Schwarz and members of the Purchase College Foundation proposed the retirement community in 2003 to "put to good use a large unused parcel of land," the statement said.

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