Construction Commences on New Residence Halls at the College of Staten Island, Residency Fall 2013

Officials gather to break ground for the construction of the College's first-ever residence halls.

Officials from the College of Staten Island (CSI) joined today with New York legislators and construction team leaders, shovels in hand, to break ground on the highly anticipated residence halls on the northwest corner of the College’s North Academic Quadrangle near the Campus Center.

The housing project is the first major construction of new facilities since 1993. The residence halls will transform CSI, a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY), into a destination for national and international students, as well as Islanders looking for a residential college experience in the city that never sleeps, according to College officials.

“The housing project is an institutional milestone,” said Dr. Tomás D. Morales, President of CSI. “It is an integral component of the College’s Master Plan, which was developed through a highly interactive and collaborative process with all members of our College community. The occupancy of these buildings will be transformational for the College, as well as our faculty, staff, and students.”

In keeping with the President’s vision and the institutional philosophy of protecting the environment and developing sustainable and responsible patterns of development, the buildings are designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification.

The two buildings will house 454 residents in 133 fully furnished apartments. The four- and five-story buildings will feature single- and double-occupancy units, nine Resident Assistant units, and one Resident Director unit. All private and semi-private units for students will feature kitchens with a four-burner range top, oven, refrigerator, and garbage disposal, as well as dedicated bathrooms.

Full details of the state-of-the-art residencies, including floor plans and amenities, can be found at www.csistudenthousing.com.

The buildings are designed to pamper their residents with high-end amenities that foster a sense of community. Residents will enjoy lounges, a cardio-focused fitness center, meeting and multipurpose spaces, private study rooms, a mailroom, a business center, vending areas, and laundry facilities. A fully staffed onsite management office will keep things running smoothly.

The buildings are at the heart of a seven-acre site that will be transformed with new pathways, landscaping, and lighting. Nearby recreational areas will include two new basketball courts and four new handball courts.

“Our new residential project is a significant component of the College’s recently adopted five-year Strategic Plan,” said Ira S. Persky, Vice President for Finance and Administration at CSI. “The project will enable the College to attract students from a wider geographical area, provide more educational opportunities, and help to foster an on-campus environment that will benefit the entire College community.”

The construction phase of the project will create nearly 277 construction-related jobs and will take approximately 17 months. The units are anticipated to be ready for occupancy in fall 2013. Site work will continue for five months, building exteriors will be completed in early 2013, and the remaining construction, including interiors and site restoration, is anticipated to be completed in August 2013.

The housing complex is a collaboration between Austin, Texas-based American Campus Communities (ACC) and CSI Student Housing LLC with The City University of New York (CUNY). The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Board of Directors recently approved the $67.5 million in tax-exempt Residential Revenue Bonds, 2012 Series A, as well as the $2.5 million Residential Revenue Bonds, 2012 Series B Bonds, to fund the construction and equip the buildings. The General Contractor is T.G. Nickel & Associates, the same firm that recently developed the student housing facility at CUNY’s Queens College, which was also financed by the HDC.

“We are honored to be partnering with CSI to deliver this transformative student housing project–a first step in changing the campus experience from commuter to residential,” said Jamie Wilhelm, ACC Executive Vice President of Public/Private Transactions. “This modern complex will offer CSI students an on-campus residential experience that will enhance academic success and foster the sense of student community while providing state-of-the-art accommodations and services.”

Marc Jahr, President of the HDC said: “We are excited to join the College of Staten Island and American Campus Communities to celebrate the groundbreaking of the student housing residences. With an increase in student population, long commutes, and a limited amount of apartment complexes–there’s clearly a need for on-campus housing. Not only will the overall campus life for student residents improve, but students will now have a home away from home.”

About the College of Staten Island (CSI):

The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a senior college of The City University of New York (CUNY) serving 14,000 students, which boasts a modern, 204-acre campus that offers the serene and beautiful surroundings traditionally associated with academic life, and facilities that are among the most advanced of any college. A sophisticated network links more than 2,500 computers on campus, enabling students and faculty to transmit voice, data, and multimedia communications. All facilities are accessible to students with disabilities.

The combination of highly credentialed faculty and hands-on experience with modern equipment prepares students seeking professional careers, as well as those seeking admission to graduate schools. The College offers more than 80 undergraduate and 24 graduate programs leading to associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Doctoral degrees are also offered in conjunction with The Graduate Center, CUNY.

About American Campus Communities (ACC):

American Campus Communities, Inc. is the largest owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities in the United States. The company is a fully integrated, self-managed and self-administered equity real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in the design, finance, development, construction management, and operational management of student housing properties. American Campus Communities owns 120 student housing properties containing approximately 74,900 beds. Including its owned and third-party managed properties, ACC’s total managed portfolio consists of 149 properties with approximately 98,400 beds. Visit the ACC Website or its student housing page.

About the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC):

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) provides a variety of financing programs for the creation and preservation of multi-family affordable housing throughout New York City. In partnership with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the HDC works to implement Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the creation or preservation of 165,000 affordable housing units by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. The New York City Housing Development Corporation is rated AA by S&P and Aa2 by Moody’s.

CSI Student Housing Update

I am very pleased to provide an update on the new Residential Housing Complex. While a formal groundbreaking ceremony will be held in late March, construction has already begun. The complex is a collaboration between American Campus Communities of Austin, Texas and the CSI Student Housing LLC with The City University of New York.

The CSI Student Housing complex is sited north of Building 3N, west of Building 4N, and south of the outdoor tennis courts on the area currently utilized for outdoor basketball and handball courts. The first aspect of the 17-month construction period will be the preparation of the area for temporary construction offices and the installation of construction fencing to contain the site. Excavation and foundation work will follow with utility lines being placed to support the project. It is anticipated that this phase will take four to five months at which time the actual building structure will begin to be erected. The exteriors of the building should be completed in early 2013 with the remaining construction, interior, and site restoration work being completed in August 2013.

The project is comprised of two buildings with four and five stories and will contain 133 furnished apartments housing 454 residents. The buildings will offer both private and semi-private bedroom accommodations with semi-private bathrooms for residents.  Each bedroom will be equipped with bed, bureau, desk, chair, and closet.  Kitchens will include a four-burner range top and full oven, refrigerator, and garbage disposal. Amenities within the complex will include social lounges, cardio-focused fitness center, divisible meeting/classroom/multipurpose space, private study rooms, mailroom, business center, vending areas, laundry facilities, and fully staffed onsite management office. Related project improvements will include new pathways, landscaping, lighting, and recreational areas to include basketball and handball courts to replace those being displaced by the construction. Two new basketball courts and four handball courts will be constructed immediately south and west of the outdoor tennis courts. 

I look forward to the addition of our on-campus student housing, and hope that you share in my excitement for this project.

 

Student Housing

The College is committed to meeting the needs of our growing student population.  

CSI’s student housing project, located at the north end of the campus near the tennis bubble, includes nine studio apartments for resident assistants and 124 apartments of two, three, or four bedrooms. The complex will also include lounge space, group study rooms, an onsite laundry, multipurpose room, and a fitness center. The general contractor, T.G. Nickel and Associates of Ronkonkoma, NY, will commence construction on Monday, Mar. 5, 2012, and it is anticipated that the project will take approximately 17 months to complete.  A formal groundbreaking ceremony will be scheduled in several weeks. 

Construction fencing will be erected around the site, and a detour for walking will be established for the safety of all students, faculty, staff and visitors to the College. 

A Website regarding the construction progress is in the process of being developed. Once it is completed and ready to go live, a notice will be sent to the College community.

President’s February College Council Report

I am pleased to provide you with my February College Council President’s Report:

President’s Report

Meeting of the College Council

February 23, 2012  

                                                                  

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable and safe winter intersession, and I welcome you back for the spring semester. The new semester brings important developments and progress for the College of Staten Island.    

The 2012-2013 New York Executive Budget for CUNY is currently being reviewed by the State Legislature on an accelerated timetable. Passage of the final budget is expected to take place one week prior to the April 1deadline. CUNY is requesting from the Legislature additional financial support for capital construction and renovation projects, in order to replace antiquated facilities with modern and safe classrooms and laboratories. CUNY is also seeking restoration of funding for students with disabilities, as well as for childcare and other student services. The University’s funding will directly impact CSI’s ability to advance excellence in education and services to our students. I encourage everyone to contact your state legislators and voice support for CUNY and CSI. Please visit www.supportcuny.org to join the campaign. 

The College has already engaged our state and local legislative representatives concerning CSI’s budgetary needs. On January 20, CSI held its annual Legislative Forum, which brought together State Senate members, Assembly members, and City Councilpersons to discuss the College’s capital and discretionary funding priorities. We also requested assistance from representatives concerning our efforts to have the MTA extend its bus service onto the campus. The College is committed to advocating for these important issues on behalf of our students, faculty, and staff.        

CSI continues to experience unprecedented growth. Our winter session is thriving with an increase in enrollment and an increase in sections offered from 62 last winter to 75 in 2012. The College’s spring enrollment once again shows an increase over last year, with a greater than 1% increase in FTEs, demonstrating that our students are enrolling with higher course loads and comparable outcomes.

The College is dedicated to meeting the needs of our growing student population. At the February 15, 2012 meeting of the New York City Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors, a resolution was passed approving the selling of bonds to construct a 454-bed housing project at the College of Staten Island. The project, located on the current site of the outdoor basketball and handball courts north of Building 3A, includes nine studio apartments for resident assistants and 124 apartments of either  two, three, or four bedrooms. The complex will also include lounge space, group study rooms, an onsite laundry facility, multipurpose room, and a fitness center. The residences will be managed by ACC SC Management LLC, which is the leading developer and operator of student housing in the country. The general contractor, T.G. Nickel and Associates of Ronkonkoma, NY, will commence construction shortly after the closing on the bonds, which is scheduled for March 1, 2012. It is anticipated that a formal groundbreaking ceremony will be scheduled in several weeks, and I welcome everyone to join us in celebrating this institutional milestone.  

I am also pleased to announce that the College has purchased 173 additional student computers with funds generated through Student Technology Fees. These new computers are now available throughout the campus in locations including Building 2A, the Campus Center, Sports & Recreation Center, the Library, and in the lobbies of academic buildings. All computers are equipped with the same software available in open computer laboratories, which will enable students to work on their academic assignments throughout the campus. In addition, the College replaced 367 student computers in special-purpose and general-purpose computer laboratories. In total, 540 new computers are now available for use by our students. 

The academic excellence of our students reflects our uncompromising support for their success. Recently, Evelyn Okeke was chosen to receive the highly competitive 2012 UNCF/Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Award. Irvin Ibarguen is now the first student from CSI’s History Department to be admitted to Harvard University’s Doctoral program in History, while Mark Barahman has been accepted into the Albert Einstein College of Medicine MD-PhD program. In addition, doctoral student Katrina Caroccia won the Horst Schulz Biochemistry Prize for her 2011 first-authored paper in Peptide Science. Please join me in congratulating these and the many other CSI students for their extraordinary academic accomplishments. 

Our student-athletes are also experiencing great success. The CSI men’s basketball team, which has a 23-4 record and is currently on a 16-game winning streak, advanced to the finals of The City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) tournament. The team will be playing in the championship game against Medgar Evers College at The City College of New York on Saturday at 5:00pm, and I encourage all members of the campus community to come to the game and show their support. The CSI women’s team also finished a successful season by reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament. Individual members of both the men’s and women’s teams recently received CUNYAC honors. Thomas Tibbs and Jordan Young have repeated as All-CUNY first-team selections, and Bloochy Magloire and Katelyn Hepworth were named to the men’s and women’s second teams. The Dolphins also swept Rookie-of-the-Year honors with Javon Cox capturing the men’s award and Nikki Fabozzi earning the women’s award. Finally, CSI men’s coach Tony Petosa received his second consecutive men’s Coach of the Year honor. 

This semester marks the completion of the College’s Self-Study report as part of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaccreditation process. The Self-Study provides a comprehensive assessment of the College as measured by the Commission’s 14 standards of institutional excellence. The report was formally submitted to the members of the Middle States Team, which will be visiting the College in April to conduct an evaluation of our institution. I want to thank the more than 130 faculty, staff, and students whose dedicated service on the College’s Middle States Working Groups and Steering Committee led to this significant achievement.  

I am pleased to note that Black History Month is currently being celebrated at the College. On February 9, CSI held its kick-off event, “Perspectives on Race,” before a standing-room-only audience in the Center for the Arts Recital Hall. The event featured inspirational performances by the CSI Gospel Choir, compelling presentations by faculty, and a remarkable panel discussion by a diverse group of CSI students concerning their perceptions on race. I want to thank the Division for Student Affairs and the event planning committee for the overwhelming success of this event, which truly reflects the strength of our diversity at the College.             

In closing, I would like to wish all of you a successful semester at CSI.

 

 

Master Plan Details Ten Years of Growth for CSI

When the College of Staten Island moved to the Willowbrook Campus in the early 1990s, the College took a quantum leap forward in serving the needs of Staten Island, thanks to the efforts of New York State Senator John J. Marchi.

Today, CSI is poised to expand upon this vision. The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York has unanimously approved a new Master Plan for CSI at its April 26th meeting. The Plan is the result of a three-year process that included wide participation from the University facilities planning offices as well faculty, students, and staff at CSI. The College has been well-served by the collaborative nature of this process, and our students, today and tomorrow, will greatly benefit.

The Plan is designed to support the College’s commitment to access and excellence while addressing its anticipated growth over the next ten years. With a projected total enrollment of approximately 18,000 by the year 2019, the Plan calls for an additional 477,735 gross square feet in new construction and renovation of existing facilities. This campus-wide modernization of facilities is designed to meet the needs for additional research and classroom space and student support services while creating a sustainable and environmentally sensitive infrastructure.

The Plan provides an estimated $257 million in building projects, including the innovative Interdisciplinary High-Performance Computational Center, a much-needed expansion of the Library, new campus housing, mixed-use research and academic buildings, and the enhancement of the Central Campus with an expanded Student Service Center, a new Welcome Center, and critical improvements to the College’s unique transportation needs.

CSI is the cultural and intellectual hub of Staten Island. We are dedicated to providing world-class learning opportunities for students ranging from doctoral to associate degrees. Our successes are grounded and most evident in the dedication of our faculty and staff. Today, thanks to our combined efforts, CSI is leading the way into the 21st Century as a premiere residential and commuter campus.

The benefits of this Plan are many.

New construction will meet LEED green-building standards. Current buildings will receive energy efficiency upgrades. Existing buildings will house geothermal systems. Rain gardens will be created to manage storm water runoff. No-mow grass will replace high-maintenance turf in selected areas. The Plan also calls for $85 million to upgrade electrical, water, heating/air conditioning, sewer, and fire services.

A new Transit Center will provide open shelter and help support MTA bus service to the campus interior. Entrances and campus loop roads will be reconfigured to ease bottlenecks and improve traffic flow. A 50,000-square-foot expansion of the Library will offer unparalleled access to information, an 8,000-square-foot imaging center will enhance biology and chemistry research, and a 2,100-square-foot greenhouse will support teaching, research, and community outreach.

The College has always welcomed our community, and a 4,000-square-foot Welcome Center will provide a new “front door” to the campus. A renovation of 68,000-square-feet of instructional space, support areas, and childcare facilities are designed to help our students feel more at home.

CSI and our many programs offer a transformative experience for our students. This Master Plan effectively addresses the dynamic and evolving needs of our College and community, transforming our facilities to serve our students and faculty better.

I thank all members of the College community for their invaluable input regarding this exciting new milestone in the history of CSI. I look forward to embarking on this journey with all of you.

-Tomás D. Morales, PhD