University Update Outlines Third Century Plan, Substantial Changes to Campus Landscape

President Brian W. Casey updated the Colgate University community on the progress of the Third-Century Plan in a Feb. 15 email addressed to students, faculty, staff and alumni. The update included information on the progress of construction projects, academic initiatives and renderings of future campus spaces funded by the Third-Century Plan.

Although Casey noted that details are already available on the Third-Century Plan webpage, and that the Office of the President plans on sending future yearly newsletters on the progress, the number of projects currently underway prompted this immediate progress update. Of those ongoing projects, timelines for completion range from several months to several years.

“It’s important to note, at the start of this letter, that the initiatives under the Third-Century Plan are quite wide-ranging; touching, as they do, every corner of Colgate’s enterprise,” Casey wrote. “Several of these initiatives, such as the build-out of the Middle Campus, will take years to complete. So, at best, this letter can only really provide a broad outline of the plan and our work currently being pursued under its direction.”

Casey first discussed Third-Century Plan initiatives that attract and support the broader Colgate community, including The Colgate Commitment, which offers financial benefits for students whose families fall below certain income thresholds; increased funding for faculty support and more endowed faculty professorships; new University-funded, affordable housing projects for Colgate faculty and staff; and increased, market-driven adjustments to investments in Colgate’s workforce.

Next, Casey listed several ongoing construction projects aimed at bettering Colgate’s academic quality. The Ho Mind, Brain, Behavior Center — a $48 million dollar project to expand and renovate the existing Olin Hall — is predicted to open in spring 2024. Infrastructure work has also begun on the Middle Campus project. In the open space just east of where a fence currently cuts through Lally Lane will be the Benton Center for Creativity and Innovation — a new campus hub for theater, entrepreneurship, dance and computer science that is scheduled to open by the end of 2024.

Casey’s update also included details on the new pathway that will connect the Middle Campus to areas up the hill.

“A restored and improved ravine will feature wooded pathways and walkways and a newly improved plaza in the Curtis-Frank traffic circle area,” Casey wrote. “It is my great hope that not only will this ravine better connect the academic parts of the campus, but will also provide a beautiful, natural [park-like] area for all members of the campus to enjoy.”

Casey also provided updates on projects to better the student experience. One of these projects, the Lower Campus renovation, aims to completely alter the junior and senior living experience by renovating existing Broad Street houses and, eventually, constructing new living, gathering and dining spaces for upperclassmen. According to Casey, existing structures will enter renovation in the summer of 2024 with new construction to follow shortly afterward.

Heading further south on Broad Street, Colgate’s athletic buildings will also see upgrades with the renovation of the Reid Athletic Center. While architectural plans will be revealed soon, Casey emphasized that the renovation prioritizes the growth of the student population since the original center was built.

“This building was constructed at a time when the campus population was significantly smaller than it is today and before the arrival of women’s varsity teams,” Casey wrote. “The building, in short, does not meet the needs of our Division I programs and the student-athletes who participate in them.”

Casey concluded by acknowledging those on and off campus who have supported the Third-Century Plan, noting that although it will take time to complete, the amount of progress and investments to the University underway are “unprecedented” in its 200-year history.

“We are pursuing this course because it is vital to the health and well-being of Colgate, but also of our society, which sorely needs wise leaders who understand that learning is a lifelong pursuit, an art, and a science,” Casey wrote. “We move forward guided by a clear vision, so that the Colgate we pass to the next generation is an even more thriving expression of the energy, spirit, and tradition that makes it special to us all.”