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Queens lawmakers, CUNY chancellor celebrate completion of seven capital projects at York College

(From r. to l.) CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Hector Batista, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, York College President Berenecea Johnson-Eanes, CUNY Board of Trustee Una S. T-Clarke, Councilman I. Daneek Miller (l.) and York College student Nish-Hoa Mullings cut the red ribbon at the unveiling of seven completed capital projects at York College in Jamaica. (Photo courtesy of CUNY)

Queens elected officials joined City University of New York (CUNY) Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez, York College President Berenecea Johnson-Eanes and CUNY Board of Trustee Una S. T-Clarke for the completion of seven capital projects at York College with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 3. 

The project, which represents a $29.2 million total investment at the Jamaica campus, includes a new faculty dining room, two new lecture halls, two new science buildings and new elevators and escalators.

Although it was years in the making, the projects completed during the pandemic were made possible with over $20 million provided by New York state and the remainder came from city elected officials, both past and present. 

“I am delighted with the outcome of the projects,” Johnson-Eanes said. “York College opened its permanent campus in 1986 and after three and a half decades of constant use, many features were in dire need of replacement, upgrading or rewiring. I thank our leaders in elected office, including those no longer in those offices, for their support in allocating the funds for these projects. I also extend my sincere gratitude to Chancellor Matos Rodríguez for his leadership in this and so much more. None of this is possible without CUNY’s and the chancellor’s support.”

(From l. to r.) CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez with York College President York College President Berenecea Johnson-Eanes and Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Hector Batista. (Photo courtesy of CUNY)

The seven completed capital projects at the Jamaica campus includes two lecture hall classrooms in the Academic Core building that were renovated to feature state-of-the-art audio-visual and lighting systems; two chemistry and biology labs in the Academic Core building that were completely renovated; the faculty dining room that was completely renovated to create a multipurpose, state-of-the-art multimedia and dining gathering space for faculty, staff and community use; eight elevators and 14 escalators throughout the college were upgraded; and a new building management system to provide automated temperature control throughout the Academic Core building.

Rodríguez said the completion of the seven capital projects at York College during the pandemic epitomizes the determination of CUNY to see long-term goals through to the end no matter the obstacles. 

“These projects also illustrate that the investments of public dollars in CUNY that benefit our students and mission are investments that pay dividends for our city, state and nation for years to come,” Rodríguez said. “I would like to thank Governor Kathy Hochul and the many other elected officials who helped make this day possible, as well as President Eanes for her leadership.” 

Photo courtesy of CUNY

Of the $29.2 total funding for the projects, $21.2 million was provided by New York state in the Critical Maintenance Program, and $8 million from city elected officials, including Councilman I. Daneek Miller, Senator Leroy Comrie and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, who supported the projects during her time as borough president, and various members of the Queens delegation of the City Council, past and present. 

Governor Kathy Hochul said the critical projects will bolster York College’s campus and help deliver for students. 

“Investing in CUNY means investing in our future and creating more pathways to success for New Yorkers,” Hochul said.

According to Miller, the investment at York College will not only benefit current students and generations to come, but also communities.

“There are high schools and middle schools that will have an opportunity to benefit from the labs and the brick-and-mortars and capital projects we are investing in,” Miller said. “The York High School for Science that is on this campus is the No. 1 school in NYC, and I am thankful that we are able to do this and pour into generations of young scholars and when they walk through the halls and see this they are truly excited.” 

Photo courtesy of CUNY

Richards said he is proud the Queens borough president’s office contributed to funding the projects, which will make York College an even better and more modern place for its students to learn.

“York’s students are attending college to enrich their lives and the lives of those around them, and to grow as passionate, engaged learners,” Richards said. “These completed capital projects will enable York’s students to have an even richer, more rewarding higher education experience.”

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