September 20, 2018
Tonight a presentation was given to the Town Board about a new tenant and proposed use at the former IBM property. The presentation is available here for viewing, but also wanted to pass along some of the details that were provided.
The proposal is to operate an academy for 9th through 12th grade students, utilizing the entire square footage of the buildings on the property. To be clear, the property will remain on the tax roll. The plan includes major interior renovations so that the buildings can be used for classroom/academic space, labs and housing for students. They also plan to construct an athletic complex and art center. In addition, the applicant proposes to reduce the number of parking spaces from 3,200 to 600 by converting them into athletic fields. That’s about 10-12 acres of parking being changed to fields.
Approximately 85% of the student body would reside on campus. Their tuition estimates range from $49,000/year for residential students to $37,000/year for day students. The proposal escalates the number of students over 4 years, eventually maxing out at an enrollment of 1,800. They plan to employee over 235 teachers, staff and security personnel. To put this into perspective, at its peak use IBM employed approximately 3,000 people who commuted to the property daily. This proposed use would, at its max capacity, generate about 15% of the daily commuters the site once handled.
The academy clientele is expected to be mostly domestic students with about 20% international students. The academic focus will be on science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts.
The property is currently zoned for office or higher education uses. An academy educating 9th through 12th graders is not “as-of-right”, and therefore would require a zoning change by the town. This provides the town with an opportunity to conduct an extensive review, which will include public hearings. There will be much more to come on this, and ample opportunities for public input. Tonight’s presentation was the first step of the process.
Rick Morrissey, MPA
Town of Somers
335 Route 202
Somers, NY 10589