Queens College Opens First Dorm
Well known as a commuter college, Queens College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, is expanding into a residential college in hopes of widening the opportunities and experiences of its students, faculty and the local Flushing community. The first step in the process took place Wednesday, September 30, when QC faculty, administrators and students gathered to witness a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially celebrating the grand opening of the Summit, the first residence hall in the college's 72-year history.
QC Vice President Sue Henderson, who began the ceremony, said that now Queens College has the opportunity to be seen as "both an excellent commuter and residential college", and that the dormitory had "transformed the campus, by giving it a new energy" as students from other states—and other countries—flocked to Queens to pursue their education and take on greater life experiences.
QC President James Muyskens called the opening of the longawaited dorms "the completion of the dreams of my predecessors" and the end of "the last obstacle that kept students from coming [and] attending Queens College". He also touted the success of the month-old building, which was not only finished on time and in budget, but also is currently filled to 98 percent capacity. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held a little more than a year before in May 2008, and the $72 million, five-story, 506-bed dormitory opened to house student residents on August 26.
"I am privileged to be part of this wonderful facility," CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said. "A sense of place is critically important for a campus." He added that he felt it was quite unfortunate that "so many students never had the experience".
Lindsay Unger, a QC student and current resident of the Summit, used to commute two hours each day from campus to her home in Long Island. "Instead of going to class, and then going home, I can stay here with my new family," she exclaimed.
The dormitory boasts a silver certificate from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an organization that certifies buildings to have met environmentally sustainable construction standards. Amenities include fully furnished two- and four-bedroom suites, wireless Internet service, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a laundry facility, soundproof music rooms and quiet rooms for studying.
Marc Jahr, president, of the New York City Housing Development Corporation, which was responsible for financing the construction of the building—without taxpayer funding—said that institutions such as CUNY and communities such as Queens are "part of the DNA of this city" and that the dorms would act "like a magnet, drawing students from outside the city, while also allowing local students the opportunity to have a home away from home". Michael Mouron, president of the company responsible for the construction of the building, Capstone Development Corporation, said he was greatly indebted to CUNY, describing the system as "excellent partners" that displayed a "win-win attitude".