UR is big. According to Campus Architect Paul Tankel, the University owns approximately 630 acres of land. If the River Campus is only 114 acres, where is the rest of the property?

First of all, the “River Campus” is loosely defined as the area that spans from the Computer Science Building up to McLean Street. The Medical Center, which lies adjacent, covers about 130 acres. The rest of the university-owned property, however, is not well known to students.

The Eastman School of Music, located in downtown Rochester, is a small portion of UR’s property. There is also the Memorial Art Gallery, University Park and the Graduate Living Center area that lies beyond Parking Lot A, which is used by Medical Center employees.

Furthermore, UR also owns the area called the Towne House, which was once a hotel, then used for overflow student housing and now houses administrative offices such as UR Security. Recently, the university also acquired the site of the Mt.Hope Wegmans, which rounds out the property.

“The biggest area that people often don’t think about is what we call South Campus,” Tankel said.

Technically in the town of Brighton, South Campus is where Whipple Park, a complex of 250 two-bedroom garden apartments and two and three bedroom town houses for graduate students, is located, as well as the Laboratory for Laser Energetics and River Road buildings. The coveted NSRL lot, where a lucky few get to park their cars, is also considered to be part of the South Campus. This area totals about 230 acres.

Finally, what even fewer students know of is the C.E.K. Mees Observatory, located off of Canandaigua Lake. The observatory is named for C.E. Kenneth Mees who was the director of research at Eastman Kodak for many years. Utilized by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the observatory totals approximately 78 acres. The observatory is used heavily in the introductory undergraduate freshman and sophomore astronomy classes. So take this opportunity and explore the land UR owns. You never know what else you may find located in our very own backyard.

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