Ram-Bo, the spirited mascot of Farmingdale State College, stood at a podium Friday inside its new campus center and victoriously raised his arms in the air welcoming spectators into his new home.
Local officials, students, professors and members of the community responded by lifting their cell phones and snapping photos. Others offered friendly waves and smiles.
Then it was onto the main event—the official grand opening of its new, modern, 50,000-square foot academic building, which boasts state-of-the-art dining facilities, a bookstore and lectures ballroom, all in one centralized location.
“It’s a historic event in a number of different ways,” said Farmingdale State College President Hubert Keen, standing underneath an oculus that bathed visitors in sunlight.
“Buildings don’t come alive until people come in and then work in them,” he added.
Students wasted little time breaking in the new academic digs—the first one of its kind since 1983—touring the facilities, planting laptops atop tables and of course, caffeinating themselves.
Keen was joined by State Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick), Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) and Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station), a former adjunct professor at Farmingdale.
“You are forcing me to spend more time here with a campus center like this,” Fuschillo told the crowd, noting that he has a satellite office on campus.
“This is the identity that Farmingdale State College should have,” he added.
School officials hope students will embrace the campus center as a one-stop hub for their daily activities. The $25 million complex is part of the college’s $185 million renovation and construction plan, which includes a School of Business Building, a Children’s Center for students and faculty, and renovations to help better accommodate its growing student population, officials said.
“Farmingdale State College could not have asked for a better addition to campus life,” said Student Government Association President Amanda Lundberg.
The building “befits a thriving, growing college campus,” added Sweeney.
The new facility’s ballroom will have a capacity of 400 to host a variety of lectures and events, the college said, and accommodates 220 for dining-style seating.