St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue will soon be offering on-campus living.
College officials announced today they will begin building dormitories next summer, with the new facilities expected to open in time for the fall semester of 2017.
The planned buildout, which will happen along the Sunrise Highway service road (image below) on the site of an existing ball field, will result in a 300-bed residence hall with dining services, a recreational center, technology and meeting rooms and laundry facilities, among other amenities.
The measure was approved by the college’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening.
St. Joseph’s is partnering with Mosaic Capital Group to fund the project, which is projected to cost between $25 million to $30 million.
“The board and the campus community understand that enrollment growth is critical,” said Jack Calareso, the college’s president. “This will allow us to not only attract local students, but regional students and international students.”
“But it’s also a response to a demand,” he added. “We do assess why students might not come here after they’ve applied, whether we don’t offer a particular program…or the cost. And over the past several years the lack of residency has become a significant issue.”
In an interview in July, Dr. Calareso told greaterpatchogue.com the on-campus dorms could set the stage for bringing additional dorm rooms to downtown Patchogue Village in the not-so-distant future.
He reiterated those thoughts on Tuesday, adding that such developments could be a boost to the downtown.
“I think we could create a real population of young men and women who will help the local economy and continue the growth in Patchogue,” he said.
Reached for a response, Mayor Paul Pontieri said it would be a great thing to bring a college vibe to the local downtown, something that’s lacking elsewhere on Long Island.
“St. Joseph’s makes itself stronger and this helps them with their sustainability over time,” he said of the news. “And having dormitories in the village is a home run. It broadens who we are and it makes us a young community.”
The St. Joseph’s campus, which straddles the village line, will need a new connection to the Patchogue Village sewer system in order to expand, Ponteiri said. The village and the school are already in talks about doing so.
“The sewers is what makes this work for them,” Pontieri said.
“It’s perfect,” Dr. Calareso said of downtown Patchogue serving the needs of college students. “When I first moved here and got to know Paul [Pontieri] and spent some time in the village, I thought what an ideal place. It’s not a big city that’s going to overwhelm students, and it’s not in the middle of nowhere that’s going to bore students.”
“I think it’s going to be a selling feature,” he added. “As it’s being built and people are coming to visit, we’ll make sure they not only see the campus and the future residence hall. Part of that tour would be to get them to the downtown to see the resources and the amenities that are just a few minutes away.”
St. Joseph’s, which also has a campus in Brooklyn, welcomed 361 first-time freshmen, 437 new transfers and 222 new graduate students to Patchogue in late August.
The Long Island campus currently has a total student population of 3,537.
While targeting fall of 2017, the school’s leaders have 18 months to figure out what new services should be offered to the on-campus students, as well as how how long into their college careers at St. Joseph’s incoming students will get to stay in the new hall.
“Our view is we want to fill every bed and, ultimately, hopefully, there will be a demand for us to add space,” Dr. Calareso said. “Our goal is to not deny residency to any student who wants it.”
Call (631) 687-4500 or visit www.sjcny.edu for more information from St. Joseph’s College.
Photo: The dorms will be built just north of O’Connor Hall. (St. Joseph’s College courtesy photo)