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Officials Sign Final Steel Beam to be Installed in Kaplan Hall on SUNY Orange’s Newburgh Campus

PHOTO: Edward Diana and Joan Wolfe sign the beamNEWBURGH, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Edward Diana and SUNY Orange President Dr. William Richards hosted a “steel topping” ceremony at the College’s Newburgh Campus Tuesday morning, inviting an array of elected officials, community leaders, College representatives, construction personnel and others to sign the final steel beam to be installed in Kaplan Hall.

Approximately 60 people braved sub-freezing temperatures to participate in the outdoor event, which heralded the ceremonial conclusion of the steel construction phase of Kaplan Hall, an 85,000-square-foot classroom and office building that will serve as the centerpiece of SUNY Orange’s burgeoning Newburgh campus.

Next up, now that the steel is in place, construction crews will pour concrete for the interior floors, begin placement of exterior walls and prepare for interior work such as plumbing and electrical installation. Target date for completion of Kaplan Hall is mid-November, with the College expecting to welcome students to the building for classes in the Spring 2011 semester.

PHOTO: County Executive Edward Diana speaks at steel topping ceremonyDuring his brief remarks, Diana promised that the job would be completed “on time and under budget” while praising the work of JMZ Architects and Planners (project architect) and Holt Construction (construction manager). The county executive also lauded the craftsmanship and involvement of the many local labor unions that have supplied construction personnel for the project. Richards indicated he is eagerly looking forward to the day when as many as 2,200 students roam the campus in pursuit of academic excellence.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey, New York State Senator William Larkin, Newburgh Mayor Nick Valentine and County Legislator Stephen Brescia briefly addressed the audience as well. Joan Wolfe, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, and Joan Kaplan, representing William Kaplan and the Kaplan Family Charitable Foundations, were also in attendance.

Once remarks were completed and the beam was signed, a nearby crane lifted the beam into its final resting place along First Street, facing the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

PHOTO: The final steel beam is bolted into placeKaplan 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.

SUNY Orange enrollment has increased 25 percent in the past eight years, including a 2.4 percent surge last fall that created a record enrollment level of 6,922 students. Enrollment has grown at an even greater rate (39.8 percent) in Newburgh during that same span. When completed, the Newburgh campus is expected to accommodate the equivalent of 1,100 full-time students per semester. Presently, the campus handles the equivalent of nearly 650 full-time students. This past fall, more than 1,300 students attended classes at the Newburgh campus.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940