The New Paltz community welcomed back an architectural icon on Jan. 15, 2005 when the last section of the new clock tower was placed atop the van den Berg Learning Center. The aluminumconstructed tower replaces the original wood-constructed tower destroyed by fire in 1990.
"We are sort of patching what had been a tear in the fabric of our community," said President Steven Poskanzer at a ceremony held for the occasion in the Old Main Building. "It is great to have the tower back where it belongs."
Sadie Penzato (Art Education, BS '66; MS '68; CAS '72), who also spoke at the ceremony, began school in kindergarten at the van den Berg School of Practice and graduated from ninth grade in 1946 in Studley Theatre. She spoke about the significance of the return of the tower to the community and how the building holds a place in the history of the region.
"I had names like Deyo, Hasbrouck and Bevier in all of my classes," she recalled.
Penzato also said that she was aware of the tower on the building, but, when she was young, never knew that it had a clock on it. "I thought it was a beautiful tower and just got used to it being there. It was such a familiar part of the New Paltz skyline," she said.
More than 50 people attended the ceremony, including members of the New Paltz business community and past New Paltz President Alice Chandler. Representatives from the SUNY Construction Fund, the general contractor's office (Glomar Construction of New Windsor) and the architect's office (Hall Partnership of New York City) were also in attendance.
The return of the tower also answers any questions people may have had as to the significance of the clock tower rendering that was used on the blue and orange banners installed in 2003 on various telephone and light poles surrounding the New Paltz campus.