BY YVETTE BROWN
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced last week that she has allocated a total of $3.64 million of Fiscal Year 2017 discretionary capital dollars to fund projects at four City University of New York public institutions of higher education in Queens.
The CUNY schools Katz funded are CUNY York College, Queens College, Queensborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College. Out of all four colleges, York College received the least amount of money.
Queens College received $1 million to fully fund the construction of recording studios for the new Music and Production Certificate program, which will also provide as a multi-use facility for classrooms, rehearsal, performance spaces and laboratories for performers, composers and teachers. The project is slated to be completed by January 2019.
LaGuardia Community College received $1 million for the construction of the Center for Career and Employment Training. The center will be the central location for all students to be able to connect to a wide network of employers as well as provide access to real-time labor market data. It will also offer student advisement and training, which will lead to employment in high demand. According to the Borough President’s office, “The total projected cost of the project is $6 million, with a possible $2 million from the New York City Council and $3 million from New York State.” This project is slated to be completed by August 2018.
Queensborough Community College is also receiving $1 million towards creating a modern kitchen and dining hall. This will replace the college’s current undersized basement dining hall. According to the Borough President’s office, “the allocation is toward the balance of city funding needed for Phase 2 based on current estimates, with a possible $1 million from New York State.” The project is slated to be completed by March 2019.
York College, however, will only be receiving $640,000 towards renovating the greenhouse. There is no slated time for when the project will be completed.
“Allocations are based in part on requests we receive from the institutions and consultations with the agencies. York College currently has several open projects to expand classrooms and labs, including $1,500,000 from Borough President Katz from past fiscal years,” said Sharon Lee, a spokesperson for Katz.
According to the Borough President’s website, she did, in fact, allocate $1 million to York College for Fiscal Year 2016 for laboratory and classroom upgrades in the Science and Modern Languages departments, these upgrades resulted in instructional space equipped with the latest technology and teaching devices. Upgrades also went to the school’s data center.
When Lee was asked why, with the different requests received from York College, they chose to allocate the least amount of money towards renovating the greenhouse she responded, “The Greenhouse project was funded previously and with the addition of these funds [it] is currently ready to proceed. With the Borough President’s allocation, the funding gap has been filled and the project can effectively move forward.”
Calls made to York faculty were not returned as of press time, but the CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken is very impressed by her allocations and thanked Katz for her generosity.
“Queens Borough President Katz had provided critical and generous funding for CUNY projects that will enhance program quality, student experience and college value at Queens, York, LaGuardia and Queensborough Community Colleges,” said Milliken. “I deeply appreciate her commitment to CUNY, which has such a positive impact on the borough and city.”