The FLI houses several laboratories and spaces used for scientific research by HWS students, faculty and FLI staff. These include the first floor NYS Department of Health certified Baker Water Quality Laboratory used for nutrient analysis, a larger laboratory space for chlorophyll, algal identification and toxin analysis, as well as a mercury and wet chemistry laboratory in the walkout basement.


Building History

601 S. Main Street was built in the1860s as a college chapter house for Sigma Phi. It housed various fraternities until 1955 when it was vacated. The property was then sold by the Colleges and became a rental property. In 1991, HWS purchased the building back.

After extensive renovations, the building was reopened as the Finger Lakes Institute in June 2004 and dedicated in October 2004. Funding for its renovation came through the support of numerous individuals including NY State Senator Michael Nozzolio and US Congressman James Walsh.

Building Design and Energy Efficiency

HWS Students designed the energy systems used in the FLI building to operate completely on renewable energy resources.


The FLI interior temperature is regulated by a geothermal heating and cooling system, also known as a “geo-exchange system.” Geothermal heating and cooling systems work by moving heat, rather than by converting fossil fuels to heat. A total of 20 wells, drilled to the depth of 100 feet, were installed to use the earth’s constant temperature, 55 degrees F, as a heat source or heat sink, depending on the season.

In 2009, the Finger Lakes Institute received the EPA ENERGY STAR Small Business Award for increasing the energy efficiency of its facility through energy management improvements over a two-year period.


601 S. Main Street, Geneva, N.Y

Free public parking is available along South Main St. (Rt. 14). Additional parking is available in the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Medbery Parking Lot located on Pulteney Street across from the HWS Scandling Center. Please visit the HWS Campus Safety office for a visitor’s permit.