When we last heard from the shining school on the hill overlooking Troy, the fuddy-duddies on the zoning board refused to bless the new plans to build a 41-44 foot tall mansion for the President of the university. The rules for that piece of land say that all homes should not be more than 25 feet high, a restriction that still permits almost every McMansion I’ve ever seen. A few students squalked and I demonstrated my lack of vision too.
It turns out there’s a wrinkle and a loophole. The old Presidential manse with 6 or 7 bedrooms sits next to the new site. Originally, Rensselaer was going to preserve the old building as a guest house. But the old site doesn’t have the zoning restrictions. So the clever visionaries at RPI looked at the options:
- Keep the President in a nice, old mansion and use the money for something useful.
- Build a new mansion that’s under 25 feet high and use the old mansion for a guest house.
- Spend even more to tear down the old mansion first and then put up a 41-44 foot monstrosity.