October 16, 2014

SUNY Empire State College Breaks New Ground at Westfall Road Site

$10 million, 30,000 Square Foot LEED-silver Regional Facility Will Better Serve Students and the Community

Town of Brighton Supervisor William W. Moehle, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, state Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle, SUNY Empire State College President Merodie A. Hancock, state Sen. Joseph E. Robach,  Empire State College Dean Jonathan Franz and SUNY Student Trustee and Empire State College graduate student Lori Mould '14.

Left to right are: Town of Brighton Supervisor William W. Moehle, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, state Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle, SUNY Empire State College President Merodie A. Hancock, state Sen. Joseph E. Robach,  Empire State College Dean Jonathan Franz and SUNY Student Trustee and Empire State College graduate student Lori Mould '14. Photo/Empire State College

(ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Oct. 16, 2014) New ground was broken at 680 Westfall Road in the Town of Brighton for a $10 million, environmentally friendly regional facility, which will enable SUNY Empire State College to better educate more students.

The state-owned facility sits on 4.2 acres and is designed to provide access for students, alumni and the people of the greater Genesee Valley region to a wide variety of college and community-based events.

Joining Empire State College President Merodie A. Hancock at the ceremony were state Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle, state Sen. Joseph E. Robach, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Town of Brighton Supervisor William W. Moehle, students, alumni, faculty and staff from the college and business and community leaders.

“I want to express my appreciation to state Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, who was instrumental in helping the college secure this location, and to state Sen. Joseph Robach, who assisted in providing additional funding to strengthen video conferencing from here to the college’s other locations throughout the state, Also, many thanks to Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle, who has made us feel at home in Brighton,” said Hancock. “The new Rochester regional facility will be a model for teaching, learning and community service that Empire State College replicates across the state. Designed to be flexible, the new space addresses how, why, when and where our nontraditional students best learn. Building upon Empire State College's footprint in the area, we can enhance our response to economic and workforce development needs, as well as expand our offerings and community programs."

Hancock also expressed her gratitude for the work and support of Lt. Gov. Robert L. Duffy for the project.

“Expanding opportunities for higher learning to current and prospective students is one of the keys to securing a bright economic future for our community and state,” said Morelle. “Thanks to Empire State College’s leadership and vision, this new regional facility will better serve and prepare students to enter the workforce and meet the demands of employers in critical growth areas. I would like to thank and congratulate Empire State College, the Town of Brighton and everyone who played a role in helping make today's groundbreaking possible.”

“This is truly an exciting day for Empire State College, the Town of Brighton and our entire community,” said Robach. “Empire State College offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, with the added convenience of both online or traditional classroom courses, preparing students for the start of their new career or career advancement. I would like to join the Brighton community in welcoming Empire State College to Westfall Road and cannot wait for the completion of its new, state-of-the-art facility.”

“We are excited that Empire State College has worked with the Town of Brighton to locate its regional campus in Brighton,” said Moehle.  “We are especially pleased that this will be a LEED silver project and will serve to inspire other developers to develop in a sustainable manner. The community of Brighton has a reputation for educational excellence at all levels, and the Brighton campus of Empire State College will enhance that well-earned reputation. On behalf of the entire community of Brighton, I am pleased to welcome Empire State College, its faculty, staff and especially the many adults who will continue their education here in Brighton.”

“Monroe County is fortunate to be home to so many world-class colleges, universities and institutes for higher education that contribute greatly to our local economy and quality of life, and Empire State College is a great example of that success,” said Brooks. “Empire State College provides students with a comprehensive educational experience through a unique blend of traditional and nontraditional learning. This new building will allow Empire State College to build upon its already exceptional reputation as a premier provider of higher education.”

The college is relocating from 14,000 square feet of leased office space at 1475 Winton Road North, Irondequoit, NY, which was first occupied in 1999.

About the Regional Facility

The facility will set a new standard and serve as a model for teaching and learning and for community engagement and service.

The space is designed to foster collaboration among students, faculty mentors, peer learning coaches and other members of the college community in real time, online, face-to-face, one-to-one and groups, or at a time convenient for the student.

Students, faculty and others will be able to connect a variety of devices, from laptops and tablets, to video screens, present their work and use wall-sized whiteboards and open space for discussions.

Students may then receive immediate support and feedback onsite and online from fellow students and faculty located across the state, or through digital content recorded at a later time.

The creation and distribution of digital content will be supported by a state-of-the-art media production suite and video conferencing capability.

The two-story, 30,000 square-foot building is designed and is being constructed to meet silver specifications standards established by the U.S. Green Building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design initiative.

LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

Funding for the project comes from the SUNY capital construction budget. The college anticipates moving some 23 full- and part-time faculty and 18 professional and support staff into the building in February 2016.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 73,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.