Alfred U opens energy grid training lab; begins work on the sports complex | News

Alfred University unveiled a new facility that will be used to prepare students for careers in the burgeoning renewable energy industry, and last week broke ground on a new $30 million sports complex near campus.

Alfred received a $466,853 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that will support student internships and fund a program that provides short training courses for renewable energy engineering students and workers in the electric power industry. Additionally, the university received a donation from GE Vernova of nearly $2.8 million for power grid planning and operations software to support the NYSERDA-funded project.

“Sustainability is one of our most pressing issues,” said Mark Zupan, president of Alfred University. “We thank GE Vernova and NYSERDA for providing us with important leverage to help address these issues.”

The university received an initial $786,000 in GE Vernova’s Advanced Energy Management System (AEMS) and Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS) software packages for use in 2023-24, the first year of the project. GE Vernova has since donated an additional $2 million to the university for software that will be used for the next five years.

The program – to which the university will provide $117,000 in in-kind/cost-sharing – will benefit students in the Renewable Energy Engineering and Electrical Engineering programs at the Inamori School of Engineering by providing them with access to state-of-the-art equipment and training. The NYSERDA employee training grant will support student internships – 22 over the next three years – and will also fund the purchase of two microgrid control systems, which will be located in a new laboratory in the McMahon Engineering Building and used as a training tool for students.

It will also enable the university to contract EPRI, an independent, not-for-profit research and development organization, to deliver short student training courses aligned with industry standards.

Meanwhile, members of the Board of Trustees, university faculty and staff, coaches and student-athletes participated in a groundbreaking Thursday for the Saxon Hill Athletic Complex, a multi-field facility located atop Jericho Hill, a 200-acre facility south of campus. Construction on the $30 million project, financed through a bond issue and more than $10 million in philanthropic donations, is expected to begin this summer and be completed in fall 2025.

“This is the largest investment in athletics at Alfred University,” Zupan said. “Given the challenges facing higher education, this gives us a strong tailwind” in terms of student recruitment.

Rochester-based LeChase Construction is the general contractor for the Saxon Hill project, and Olean-based architectural firm Clark, Patterson & Lee (CPL) is providing design services.

Once completed, the complex will include:

• Saxon Sports Center: changing rooms; athletic training room; offices; assembly space where graduates and parents/families can gather to participate in tailgate ceremonies; toilets; media room.

• Baseball field: lighted artificial turf field with scoreboard; farmsteads and dugouts. The two-story press box will include restrooms, a concession stand, a band room, a sound space and a game service area.

• Athletics facilities: illuminated 400-meter eight-lane track with jumping and throwing areas; video scoreboard. The track’s infield will be a multi-use artificial turf field that will be used as a stadium for a future intercollegiate field hockey team and as a training facility for other outdoor sports teams.

• Rugby pitch: floodlit pitch with natural grass and scoreboard. The women’s and men’s rugby teams currently operate as club teams. The women’s team will begin this fall as an intercollegiate team; The men’s team will transition to an intercollegiate program upon completion of the Saxon Hill facility.

• Stands: One stand will face the track and multi-use pitch, the other will face the rugby pitch. The double-sided press box for each competition venue will include sound and match service booths.

• Five parking lots with approximately 435 parking spaces.