School of Business and Nursing Department to hold grand opening for van den Berg Hall

NEW PALTZ — The School of Business and the Nursing Department at the State University of New York at New Paltz will hold a grand opening ceremony today at 5 p.m. to officially open their newly renovated home in the van den Berg Hall.

The event will include a ribbon cutting to officially commemorate the reopening of the building and an unveiling of a plaque to honor Ulster Savings Charitable Foundation, which in 2004 donated $100,000 to the college to help to renovate the exterior and maintain the entrance of the historic building.

Hadi Salavitabar, dean of the School of Business, said he has been working toward this day for more than 10 years, and that being in the new building is a critical step toward enhancing the program.

“I have a lot of plans for our new home,” said Salavitabar. “We want to make this place the business hub for the business community.”

The new Leadership Lab and Accounting and Finance Lab, which Salavitabar said may soon have a Wall Street stock market ticker installed across the front wall of the room, will also allow the students to have a more real-world experience, making it easier for them to transition to the professional environment.

“We would not be doing the right job if we limited the business school programs to the classroom,” he said. “Now we are going to put these students to the test — to apply what they have learned. We are creating an environment that takes our educational environment beyond the classroom.”

The new building also houses the college’s nursing program. There, the new “smart classrooms,” equipped with distance learning technology, will allow for an enhanced experience for the students, as they will be able to benefit from instruction by experts at other nursing programs throughout the country.

Originally built in 1930 as the Campus Practice School, the building is named after Lawrence H. van den Berg, the last principal of the New Paltz Normal School and the first president of the State Teacher’s College at New Paltz (1923-1943).

In addition, the project included the restoration of the clock tower atop the building that was destroyed by fire in May 1990.