Branch Campus Building Will Honor William Kaplan’s Many Contributions to the College

PHOTO: Rendering of Kaplan HallMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – William Kaplan was the driving force that brought SUNY Orange’s visions for a branch campus in Newburgh to fruition, combining his generosity with a relentless passion for the project that helped secure much-needed local and state funding.

In appreciation of his long-time commitment and dedication to the College in general, and the Newburgh Branch Campus in particular, the SUNY Orange Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Monday to name the new campus’ planned 85,000 square foot building “Kaplan Hall.”

Previously known as the “North Building” throughout the initial design phase, the new Kaplan Hall will be constructed at the intersection of Grand and First streets and will anchor the northwest corner of the new branch campus. In addition to fronting both Grand and First streets, the campus side of the large “L-shaped” building will face a beautifully landscaped plaza.

The three-story building will house the campus library; many of the student services offices; classrooms; and state-of-the-art laboratories to support the nursing, biology and science programs. Office space, conference rooms, tutorial labs and a small art gallery will fill out much of the remaining indoor space.

Kaplan Hall will incorporate an array of “green” initiatives aimed to guarantee the building receive’s LEED certification. The building will utilize water-efficient landscaping, employ efficient interior water fixtures, include recycled materials in its construction and feature energy-efficient technologies. Construction of Kaplan Hall and a two-story underground parking garage, along with renovations to the existing Tower Building (formerly known as the Key Bank Building) is expected to cost approximately $56 million.

Kaplan, the Kaplan family and the Kaplan Family Foundation have long been ardent supporters of Orange County Community College and its existing Newburgh Extension Center.

SUNY Orange President Dr. William Richards asserts that the College may not have gained the necessary support for the project without the aid of Kaplan, who donated a very generous gift to the project in addition to tirelessly lobbying Albany lawmakers on the College’s behalf.

“I’m convinced this project may never have reached completion without Mr. Kaplan’s many unsolicited trips to Albany. He would get in his car and drive to Albany, along with Senator Bill Larkin, to meet with legislators and, together, they made a strong case for why this campus was so important to the College and to the greater Newburgh community,” Richards says. “Truth be told, Mr. Kaplan never asked us to name the building in his honor and, probably, would have preferred less attention for his involvement. But the College felt this was the most appropriate way to recognize him for all he’s done on our behalf.”

A respected and admired civic leader, Kaplan, through his generosity of time and money over several decades, has helped construct or renovate countless not-for-profit buildings in and around the City of Newburgh. He has also philanthropically contributed to the advancement and/or creation of educational programs and facilities that have generated opportunities for countless residents in the Hudson Valley.

Few, if any, have done more over the years to further SUNY Orange’s mission of “reaching out to all citizens of Orange County to enrich their lives through the highest quality of education possible” than Kaplan. Thanks to the Kaplan family, the more than 15,000 students who have passed through the doors of the Newburgh Extension Center have benefited greatly in their pursuit of education.

He has also funded scholarships that have benefited countless SUNY Orange students over the years.

SUNY Orange enrollment has increased 21 percent in the past six years, including a 2.7 percent surge last fall that created a record enrollment level of 6,697 students. Enrollment has grown at a greater rate in Newburgh. When completed, the Newburgh Branch Campus is expected to accommodate the equivalent of 1,100 full-time students per semester. Presently, the Extension Center handles the equivalent of nearly 600 full-time students.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940