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Queensborough to get $87M for tech, Holocaust centers

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

An $87 million technology building and an expanded Holocaust Resource Center are in the works for Queensborough Community College in the coming years, the college’s president said last Thursday.

Queensborough President Eduardo Marti said the City University of New York had agreed to the Bayside school’s request for a five-year $87 million construction plan on the new facility, expected to be built in the campus parking lot and completed in 2009.

“The current technology building is outdated and it would cost more money to renovate (it) than to construct a new building,” Marti said.

The structure would house general education classrooms as well as a fiber-optics laboratory and several labs for mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering students, Marti said. The school’s long-range plan also calls for a tiered parking structure on campus.

The last building on Queensborough’s campus was built in 1976, when the college had about 9,000 students, Marti said. Today the school serves 12,500 students, and although Marti said they are learning comfortably, they do so in space that would otherwise be used for assembly, recreation, offices and libraries.

“The (technology) building is an expensive proposition, but a worthwhile one,” he said.

Marti said he expected the college would receive an initial $5 million this year to pay for design, with construction likely to begin in the 2007-2008 school year.

Funding for the project is allocated on a yearly basis, depending on the state and city economic outlook, he said.

“There’s no guarantee every year,” said Marti, but “our state representatives and our city council people have been wonderful in understanding the needs of our institution. I am confident that this is going to happen.”

Another pet project of Marti’s is the $3 million relocation and expansion of the college’s Holocaust Resource Center, which houses exhibits, books, videos and historical records of the genocide.

The center, which is in the basement of the school’s library, provides more educational materials about the subject to institutions nationwide than even the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Marti wished to bring the center out of the basement and onto the first floor of the college’s administration building, where it would be more visible and expand from its current 2,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet.

“It would make a very clear statement this college is about educating individuals to be better citizens,” he said.

Marti said state and local politicians had been responsive in getting funding for the project, for which he hoped to begin design this summer.

The college is looking to build an endowment of $1 million for the center and an anonymous donor has already pledged $250,000, Marti said.

“My dream is to see the students of all religions understand that the Holocaust and genocide are the ultimate expressions of prejudice,” he said.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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