In 2018, a committee of Sisters and community members discussed options for the former New York Province’s Provincial House in Albany. It was no longer used regularly by the Sisters or the Academy of the Holy Names-Albany that shares the campus. The aged water and power systems, plus pervasive asbestos fireproofing, made construction or renovation options costly and ultimately, they decided that the best choice was to return the grounds to green space.
During the next year, the 85,000-square-foot building was emptied of furnishings. Heating and water systems, hundreds of lockers, lights and built-ins were dismantled and carefully removed. All the items were recycled, donated or sold to area public and parish schools, minority and small businesses, charities and families. One of the chief project objectives was to recycle, reuse or re-purpose everything possible to minimize environmental impacts. For example, crushing the building’s bricks and cinder blocks kept them out of landfills and has provided 85% of the fill material needed for the future green space.
Preparations have reached the last stages, with plans to sift out any remaining bits of recyclable material, begin site contouring, add topsoil and seeding, and install a few lights and guardrails. Soon the adjacent school campus will have a limited-access extension of the natural woods along its border.