The Allen House at FM: A new building; a new concept

Dr. Stephan Astmann stands outside of the Allen House which is currently under construction at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN — As you drive along Route 67 in front of Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s campus, you can’t help but notice construction of the college’s newest building, The Allen House — named after Mrs. Frances Allen, who donated generously from her estate. As the first new building on campus in the last 20 years, it is designed to enrich the college by adding larger space for community events. College campuses progress in many ways, but adding physical facilities is certainly one major way of doing so.

The main focus inside the Allen House is a large, multi-purpose meeting room which can be easily adapted to accommodate a considerable variety of both public and college events. Part of the 8,000 – square – foot layout is a fireplace and a generous entrance foyer which can be used for upscale events; welcoming donors and newcomers to the area. It will bring people together from on-campus, and beyond the campus, in a dramatic and exemplary setting. 

An added benefit of the Allen House is the move of some administrative offices out of the Administrative Building and into the Allen House. With this move, more space for the Student Services offices will be available which will allow them to operate more effectively. 

It will also free up space in the student union – moving community board meetings and events out of “student designated space” and into a more formal, practical space that is the Allen House.

President Dustin Swanger and Executive Director of the Foundation Lesley Lanzi both note that the Allen House will be a “hub of diversified activities” of substantial benefit to the campus and community. It is scheduled to be complete by February 2018.  At that time, the building will be available to many different groups including HFM BOCES, FM’s Board of Trustees, the College Foundation, and the Fifth Friday Speaker Series (To note: the first speaker series of the New Year will focus on the opioid crisis).  

Allen House was designed by JMZ Architects and Planners of Glens Falls, who also designed our college store. 

JMZ provides architectural design services for dozens of educational institutions in New York and elsewhere. According to George Green, the principal in charge, the intent of the building’s design was to incorporate the spirit of the original “prairie style” buildings designed by Edgar Tafel with a warmer, more inviting residential style structure.  He further notes that the pairing of the Allen House with the college store will provide an extended “welcome corridor” from the outside community to the campus.

If you haven’t travelled Route 67 lately and missed seeing the Allen House under construction, drive out this way and take a look at the new, noteworthy Raider Trader College Store, across from the Allen House, as well as the striking 9/11 Memorial and Perrella Sculpture Garden. We are proud of our additional campus features; as residents of Fulton and Montgomery counties, you should share that pride as well. As a final fiscal note, because of the generosity of the Allen Estate, no county funds were required to build the Allen House.


Dr. Stephen K. Astmann is an Adjunct Instructor.

By Patricia Older

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