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St. John’s gets aid for center

St. John’s University landed more than $8 million from the state last week, which the school will use for the completion of the five-story D’Angelo Center that opens this September and will house classrooms, entertainment space and eating areas.

Gov. David Paterson announced last week that the state Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program, HECap, awarded $58 million in grants to independent colleges and universities across the state, and St. John’s received the second-largest grant, putting itjust behind New York University.

HECap provides a $1 match for every $3 raised for capital investment at the schools, and funds are distributed according to a formula that considers such factors as enrollment, student body financial need, and the size of existing planned campus facilities.

“By leveraging public investment with public dollars, HECap will stimulate short-term and long-term economic growth in communities throughout New York state,” said Brian Browne, assistant vice president for government relations at St. John’s. “Our own D’Angelo Center project has already created hundreds of good paying construction and related industry jobs and is yet another example of how St. John’s helps stimulate economic development in the local community.”

Paterson said he expected the $58 million in grant money to support 48 capital projects and create more than 4,800 construction jobs and 2,200 related industry jobs.

“Providing New York’s colleges and universities with the capital funding to remain competitive in the 21st century enables our state to continue to be a leader in higher education opportunities,” said state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone). “In many cases, these colleges are essential to the economic vibrancy of their communities and as a result, the entire state benefits.”

State Senate President Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) also threw his support behind the HECap program.

“The Higher Educational Capital Matching Grant Program money will ensure that colleges and universities across New York maintain the highest standards and modern facilities that our students deserve,” Smith said. “From Long Island to Buffalo, communities and families will benefit from the local investments and job creation these grants will facilitate.”

St. John’s will use the $8,340,463 from the state to fund the D’Angelo Center, a 127,000-square-foot green building that school officials said will serve as the new hub of student life.

The building will include 14 new classrooms, the largest of which will be a 144-seat lecture space with tiered seating.

The center will provide office and activity space for student organizations, meeting rooms for student programs, and a multipurpose room that can accommodate a lecture for 450 individuals.

There will be seating , a fireplace and a space for students to congregate before and after classes. The building will have two eating areas, including a lower-level dining area that will provide everything from a deli to a brick-oven pizza, and there will be a cafe on the second floor.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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