“The community asked for more education. CUNY did what it does best and met that need,” said Hostos Community College President Felix Matos-Rodríguez.
University officially launches its 15,000- sq.ft. state-of-the-art learning center
The Heights just got a little bigger.
On Sat., Sept. 22nd, CUNY in the Heights made it official with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house that inaugurated its new learning center at 5030 Broadway.
While the new CUNY in the Heights location is a stone’s throw from its previous headquarters at the Good Shepherd School on Cooper Street, the new facilities, custom-built with state-of-the-art computer laboratories, multiple classrooms, student and staff lounges and an open waiting area – all manned by security, are a radical transformation.
Officials from City University of New York, elected officials and community residents joined together on Saturday to unfurl a radiant red ribbon just outside the front doors, before brandishing scissors to mark the official launch of the new center.
“The community asked for more education. And CUNY did what it does best and met that need,” said Hostos Community College President Felix Matos-Rodríguez.
One of the over 3,500
students who annually enroll at CUNY in the Heights.
The program, administered by both Hostos Community College and the Borough of Manhattan Community College, has a 15-year lease for 15,000 square feet at the mixed-use, 370,000-square-foot building owned by Edison Properties, bounded by Broadway, West 214th Street, Tenth Avenue and West 213th Street.
The CUNY in the Heights program was designed to specifically serve the residents of northern Manhattan and South Bronx communities with training and certificate programs.
“The community deserves this,” said Aldrin Bonilla, Executive Director of CUNY in the Heights, who beamed as he spoke. “The students cannot believe that the community, CUNY central and elected officials thought so much of our education and our students to help us provide them with the very best.”
The investment is immediately apparent.
A departure from the Cooper Street location, all classrooms are on the first floor and are equipped with central air conditioning. Moreover, the smart classrooms are outfitted with amenities that include a Windows lab and an iMac lab for the 3,500 students who take classes annually at this location.
Additionally, the State University of New York ATTAIN Laboratory named for long-time Inwood entrepreneur, philanthropist and resident Hector B. Basora has also been re-installed in the center.
The new space is officially open for classes this semester.
“This is a community bursting with talent and ambition,” said CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor and Board Secretary Jay Hershenson. “CUNY in the Heights is a portal because it is now part of a 24-unit university system. We want students in the community to get the help they need.”
Funding for the new site was secured by New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez who provided $2 million and New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat who provided $2.7 million.
“This provides opportunities for thousands of students,” said State Senator Espaillat. “We are at the northern tip of the island. It’s hard for people to travel to the southern [end], but now they can come here and take credit-bearing courses.”
“We have expanded; this is only the beginning,” said Councilmember Rodríguez, who also serves as the Chair of the Higher Education Committee in the New York City Council. “My commitment is to advocate for more funding from the state and the city to support CUNY for a new community college.”
The enhanced proximity to skill-building and learning opportunities was heralded by those present.
“This expansion means a better future for the entire community,” CUNY Trustee Hugo Morales. “An education is the key to progress not only for individuals but also for families and for the city of New York. We will continue to support the community so that they can continue to educate themselves.”
“This is a community
bursting with talent and ambition,” said CUNY Senior Vice Chancellor and Board
Secretary Jay Hershenson.
For many of the students, the expansion was a reflection of their own growth.
“I attended CUNY in the Heights in 2007,” said Inwood resident Mercedes Morales who started out at the Good Shepherd location taking teaching courses.
“I am now the site supervisor at our satellite afterschool program,” said Morales with a wide smile. “Everyone here is friendly; everyone is willing to go that extra mile for you. We are like a family.”
As observed Vice Chancellor Hershenson, it is part and parcel of CUNY’s mission: to bring the power of learning to where the people are.
“The universities are organic institutions, they grow; they change; they adjust,” said Hershenson. “We want to see great work accomplished here. That’s the dream, right here.”