A ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially name the new Richmond County Savings Foundation (RCSF) Atrium in Building 2M of the College of Staten Island’s Willowbrook Campus took place on Tuesday, June 12. The Atrium represents a portion of Phase One of Four of the Building 2M Renovation Initiative for which RCSF has generously provided $250,000 in funding. This phase also includes the construction of classrooms and an office for the CSI School of Business on the second floor.
After opening remarks from CSI Executive Director of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs Cheryl Adolph, College President William J. Fritz stated that “this project is an example of how friends can help us move projects along.” He later mentioned that what became the final modern design of the atrium was almost scrapped due to cost overruns, but that “the Richmond County Savings Foundation stepped up to help us preserve this design element, so I think that really shows the power of partnerships.“
In his comments, Cesar Claro, RCSF Executive Director, said, “We like being called a partner and a friend. With this grant, I think Richmond County [Savings Foundation] is around $700,000 in giving to the College, historically. We will continue to be your friend as long as there is a Foundation and as long as there is a CSI, because CSI does matter in this community.”
The RCSF Atrium was part of the second floor renovation, which was completed in January. The second floor was used for classes for the first time during the Spring 2018 semester. Currently, the first floor has been designed and is being bid out for construction. The final two phases will include the north wing, both floors, and the “bump outs” on the east side of the building. Funding has yet to be identified for the design and construction of those spaces.
Building 2M has remained vacant since the closure of the Willowbrook State School in 1987. The College of Staten Island established its Willowbrook campus on a portion of the site of the old School in 1993.
Also in attendance at the event were RCSF Senior Program Officer and Board Secretary Kim Seggio; CUNY Board of Trustees member Michael Arvanites; CUNY Executive Director of Design, Construction, and Management Robert Lemieux; CSI Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Gary Reichard; and other members of the College administration, faculty, and staff.