A small two-year college in Forest Hills has signed a lease for more space nearby to expand its facilities as part of a plan to become a larger institution.
Bramson ORT College, which currently enrolls 610 students, is renting 8,000 square feet of additional space at 68-80 Austin St. — a block away from the school’s main building at 69-30 Austin St.
The school hopes to build a new library, a student lounge, a bookstore, faculty offices and some new classrooms in the new space, which is under construction and will be completed by early 2015, according to school President Dr. David Kanani. Kanani said the expansion is part of a full reconstruction of the school to hopefully become a full four-year institution.
“We are restructuring the school, we are restructuring our staff, we are restructuring our facilities, we are adding new programs. We are really intent to make this one of the best two-year, career-oriented, post-secondary junior colleges in Queens, if not the state,” Kanani said. “And then after that, once we put that in good working order, then we will hopefully go for a four-year college.”
Recently, Congresswoman Grace Meng helped Bramson ORT from losing federal funds, which caused a difficult financial situation for the small school. The U.S. Department of Education was delaying financial aid for the school, and Meng intervened to bring both sides together and hasten the delivery of the funds to the institution.
Bramson ORT College, which has a campus in Brooklyn, has a history that stretches back to 1942. The school was originally established to serve refugees and immigrants during World War II.
Today it provides students with degrees in accounting, business management, computer technology, electronics, graphics and web design, paralegal, pharmacy technician and programming, among other subjects. Kanani hopes the expansion and reconstruction of the school will attract better students as well.
“I believe that when you improve the quality of the school as a whole, automatically you attract better students,” Kanani said. “Better students for us means students that want to learn.”