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SUNY Orange Now Cleared to Confer Degrees on Students for Programs Taken Entirely in Newburgh

PHOTO: Kaplan Hall rendering with plazaMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – With designs finalized and construction soon to begin, SUNY Orange has learned that its planned Newburgh campus has been granted “branch campus” status by the New York State Department of Education, meaning that students in selected academic programs will be able to complete all of their degree requirements in Newburgh without commuting to Middletown.

With branch campus approval now in hand, the College will begin incorporating selected degree programs into the Newburgh curriculum. At present, SUNY Orange has targeted nine degree programs for the Newburgh campus, to include business management, criminal justice, criminal justice-police, early childhood development and care, human services, individual studies, liberal arts (humanities and social sciences), nursing and office technologies.

Some programs, such as individual studies and liberal arts, will be fully implemented for the Spring 2009 semester, meaning students can begin progressing toward their complete two-year associate’s degree in Newburgh as early as January. However, because the College will not be at its anticipated full capacity in Newburgh until September 2011—construction of the new classroom building (Kaplan Hall) is to be finished in Fall 2010 with renovations to the existing Tower Building projected for completion in Fall 2011—students enrolling in these selected programs within the next 12 months may not be able to complete their degree requirements in two years due to the limited availability of classroom space during construction and renovations.

PHOTO: Kaplan Hall (Grand and Front streets view)For other programs, including business management, human services and the two criminal justice degrees, full implementation is expected for Fall 2009. The initial nursing classes are slated to begin with the Spring 2010 semester. All necessary laboratory space for nursing students will be located in Kaplan Hall, an 87,000-square-foot building to be built at the intersection of Grand and First streets.

The College is still assessing its planned offerings for early childhood development and care, and office technologies, to determine when they might become available.

“Receiving branch campus status is great news for the College, but it is even better news for our current and future students in Newburgh who will enroll in these programs knowing that their entire academic careers will take place in Newburgh,” says Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president. “Our studies show commuting to Middletown is one of the single biggest barriers that our Newburgh students face while seeking to complete their degrees. Now we are able to remove that obstacle.

“Students in the greater Newburgh area are clamoring for educational opportunities. Enrollment surges in Newburgh have far outpaced our enrollment increases in Middletown, and this branch campus will allow us to significantly increase educational opportunities for prospective students in eastern Orange County,” Richards added.

SUNY Orange’s overall enrollment has increased 22.2 percent in the past seven years including a 2.4 percent surge this past fall that created a record enrollment level of 6,763 students. During that same span, Newburgh’s enrollment has risen by 40.3 percent to a combined total of 1,356 full- and part-time students. When completed, the branch campus is expected to allow the College to double its enrollment in Newburgh.

The new Kaplan Hall 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; a one-stop student services area; 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.

The College has operated an extension center in Newburgh since 1990, first offering classes in the Broadway School before moving to the Tower Building (formerly the Key Bank Building) in 1997. By state Education Department standards, students taking classes at an extension center are mandated to complete portions of their degree requirements at their college or university’s primary campus. But once a campus has been granted “branch campus” status, the institution may begin offering, at that site, all necessary courses leading to a degree or certificate.

Presently, SUNY Orange occupies four floors of the Tower Building, as well as space in the former YMCA Building located at 54 Grand Street. Orange County also owns the Maple Building, adjacent to the Tower Building, and has an option to purchase the former American Legion building on Grand Street. Both of those buildings are expected to become available for College expansion as necessary.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940