I am pleased to welcome back all of our returning students, faculty, and staff. For those who are new to the College of Staten Island, I extend to you a warm welcome to the CSI family.

Upon your return to campus, as you drive around the Loop Road it is hard to miss the detour and road closures signs, the construction vehicles, and the multitude of strategically placed construction materials. While our operating budget this year is pretty challenged, there has been a lot of capital money available for new construction as well as critical infrastructure maintenance. There are approximately $57M of State-funded projects happening on campus right now. The Loop Road Project is well underway and consists of rebuilding the entire Loop Road including the addition of curbing and storm sewer drainage. I do understand the concern from the campus community as it relates to timing; however, when working with multiple state agencies, as well as permitting with city agencies and coordinating with outside contractors, we have little control over when projects are commenced. Regardless of whether or not these projects were started on June 1, we would still have experienced detours and loss of parking during the fall semester. Please be sure to keep up with the email updates regarding this project as they will provide pertinent information about getting around campus.

In addition, several buildings are on track for installation of gutters with downspouts leading to newly installed underground water-retention tanks. These tanks connect to the storm sewer system and will retain water for future irrigation use to advance sustainability on campus. In addition, several academic buildings are slated for reconstruction of their main entry plazas. We anticipate obtaining occupancy of Building 2M by the end of September. Phase three of seven will bring ten new classrooms and two new office spaces to campus. We are currently moving ahead with phase four, which consists of the demolition and construction of the first floor of the building. This location will primarily house courses for the School of Business; however, classroom space is open to the campus community.

I am also pleased to announce that this fall, CSI returned to St. George with classes at 120 Stuyvesant. Enrollment at St. George has reached 520 students, which is more students than when Staten Island Community College first opened its doors there in 1956. The initiative is to provide access to the more than 18,000 18- to 24-year-old residents with high school diplomas living in the surrounding area, who do not possess a baccalaureate degree and are not currently enrolled in a CUNY institution. The success of St. George has greatly advanced our overall enrollment for the fall semester.

This fall, we will be completing our new Strategic Priorities for 2017-2022, as well as a restated Mission, Vision, and Values. The Institutional Planning Committee, with the assistance of many faculty, has drafted the following Six Strategic Priorities along with three to four goals for each: Student Success, Global Engagement, Borough Stewardship, Destination Campus, Scholarship-Driven Education, and Resource Management. If you have not already done so, you should log in to your Blackboard account and comment on parts of the Strategic Plan. On Tuesday, October 3, we will hold a town hall meeting to solicit further input.

In closing, during this period of construction, I ask that we all work together to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of our campus community. The inconvenience of these construction projects will be minimal compared to the benefits that will be experienced as we continue to address our aging infrastructure.

I wish you all great success for this semester.