CNY Philanthropy Center

C&S served as the program manager and LEED administrator for the rehabilitation of the CNY Community Foundation’s new CNY Philanthropy Center. Founded in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation is the area’s leading philanthropic organization, creating over $5 million in grants in the fields of arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environment, health, and human services. In early 2009, the Community Foundation was seeking a new location for their headquarters. With a commitment to staying in downtown Syracuse and with an eye toward preservation and sustainability, the foundation purchased a historic downtown building to serve as their new headquarters. A unique process known as bridging was used to select consultants to complete the design and reconstruction of the facility. A local architectural firm was hired as the design criteria consultant and provided conceptual design development. With the concept and vision in place, proposals were obtained from multiple design build contractors.

The Community Foundation wanted their new headquarters to not only pay homage to the history of the structure, but to also be as environmentally friendly as possible. C&S focused on recycling, energy efficiency, and storm water control. Landfills were the last-resort destination for any renovation debris. Approximately 91 percent of the waste generated was recycled—an equivalent of 63 fully loaded dump trucks. To achieve the highest level of energy efficiency, the facility used daylight harvesting, maximizing natural light in the building while maintaining indoor temperature regulation and reducing direct light glare. A reflective roof  reduces the building’s heat island effect. All doors and windows were replaced with energy-efficient fixtures, styled to align with the original architecture. For storm water control, pervious pavement was used in the parking lot, allowing the storm water to infiltrate. A vegetated roof over the glass atrium minimizes heat absorption and reduces the roof’s surface temperature. This technology offers exceptional storm water retention and absorption. A new rain garden was also planted behind the stair tower, helping to filter on-site rain water run-off.

The Central New York Philanthropy Center has clearly demonstrated how cutting-edge construction materials and practices, sustainability considerations, and a committed client can successfully preserve and enhance a local landmark. This facility is a model for similar efforts, clearly illustrating the level of success that can be achieved in an adaptive reuse project with proper planning, design, and commitment. The project received a 2012 Silver Engineering Excellence Award from the American Countil of Engineering Companies—New York Chapter.