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York nears completion on biz building design

York College plans to demolish one of its buildings to make way for a nine-story academic village to house its business school.
TimesLedger Newspapers

York College is about two-thirds of the way through the design phase for a much-needed, 160,000-square-foot facility to house its business program, a conference center and the school’s front offices, the college’s president said last week.

“It’s going to be a game changer,” President Marcia Keizs said of the proposed academic village.

About 90 percent of instruction at York takes place in the Academic Core Building, Keizs said, a fact that became painfully clear last month when it was transformed into a shelter for more than 800 evacuees who had to leave their homes due to Superstorm Sandy.

Lending a hand to needy neighbors was a source of pride for the school community, Keizs added, but highlighted how the college has outgrown its facilities.

Since 2006, the school’s enrollment has increased by 25 percent to more than 8,000 students and since 2007 York has recruited 74 new full-time faculty members.

In 2009, the college reorganized its 17 academic units into three different schools: Arts and Sciences, Health and Behavioral Sciences and Business and Information Systems, which offers fields of study including accounting, marketing, finance, human resource management and business information systems.

The City University of New York also has plans to locate a School of Pharmacy at the college.

In its five-year capital plan laid out for the current academic year, CUNY said it had received $11 million for the academic village project and was requesting the remainder of $207 million.

“During the course of the academic year, we’re going to take our story to Albany and make our case,” Keizs said.

The school plans to demolish the classroom building across 160th Street from the Core Academic Building and construct the nine-story facility, which would be the tallest building on the 50-acre campus.

The building will have a conference center on its ground floor with space on the upper floors for classrooms and the school’s admissions, financial aid and registrar offices.

Elsewhere in the borough, CUNY is planning a $70 million upgrade to Queens College’s Fitzgerald Gymnasium and the replacement of the nearly 100-year-old terra cotta facade on LaGuardia Community College’s Center 3.

The LaGuardia project, identified as one of CUNY’s major maintenance needs, is estimated to cost $118 million.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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