Edit Page

van den Berg Learning Center Clock Tower

President Steven G. Poskanzer's Ceremony Remarks

President Steven G. Poskanzer's Remarks from the Installation Ceremony
Saturday, January 15, 2005

Today we solve a mystery that has puzzled many students and faculty ever since we strung a series of bright blue banners adorned with equally bright images of orange towers along the borders of our campus.

People have been wondering, "What the heck is that picture on the banners?"

Until today, only longtime residents of this college and community knew the correct answer to that question-and fully appreciated why today is a special day for New Paltz.

Of course, the tower depicted on the banners is a likeness of the clock tower that used to cap one of our historic campus structures, the van den Berg Learning Center.

We have waited a long time - almost 15 years - to see this tower rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in 1990.

The complicated-some might even say tortuous-road of that restoration is certainly too lengthy a tale to share this afternoon. The cocoa would get ice cold in that time! So, I'd like to turn to the tower's more recent journey.

On Monday, the tower departed Campbellsville, KY, where it was engineered and fabricated.

It arrived in New Paltz Wednesday afternoon. Excited voices buzzed on cell phones and landlines across campus - it's here and it's beautiful! (Though, like those toys that arrive on Christmas morning, it required assembly!)

That assembly was the job of Glomar Construction of New Windsor and Campbellsville Industries of Kentucky, who took the four separate pieces and assembled them on-site in record speed on Thursday.

Then we waited . . . for the crane.

Our campus police and facilities staffs have guarded this new treasure for the last 72 hours or so and our thanks go to them for keeping it safe from vandals.

Today is lift-off day!

I'd like to thank the following individuals for their role in making our campus-and community-skyline complete again:

Design Firm - The Hall Partnership Architects, LLP

  • Project Architect, Gillet (Gil) Lefferts
  • Site Representative: Steve Rose

Campbellsville Industries, Cambellsville, Kentucky

  • Barry Antle, site manager
  • Bobby Beard
  • Tony Mattney

State University Construction Fund

  • Regional Director, Randall (Randy) MacNeil,
  • Project Coordinator, Case Simpson

General Contractor - Glomar Construction, Inc. of New Windsor

  • President, Kew Mozayeny
  • Project Manager, Martin Berenson,
  • Project Superintendent, Clarence Woods

VLC Clock Tower Supplier - Church Specialties of Monroe, CT

  • Joseph (Joe) Duffy III

College Representatives:

  • Johanna D'Aleo: Vice President of Administration
  • John Shupe: Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management
  • Dale Coon: Project Coordinator

Estimated Cost: $495,000

Source of Funding: SUNY Construction Fund

Grab your hot cocoa cups and let's toast this accomplishment!

Before I make a few forward-looking remarks, I'd like to introduce to you someone familiar with the first clock tower during its infancy on the campus.

Sadie Penzato is a lifelong resident of New Paltz.

She began school in kindergarten at the van den Berg School of Practice. She graduated from 9th grade on the Studley Theatre stage-and then from the Campus School in 1949.

She is a triple NP alumna: she received her B.S. in 1966, her M.S. in Art Education in 1968 and her Certificate of Advanced Study in 1972! She also holds a doctorate from some other University located on Morningside Heights that doesn't concern us!

Sadie not only grown up at SUNY New Paltz and in the community of New Paltz, but she has chronicled her experiences in the book and the musical, "Growing Up Sicilian and Female," a tale about a first-generation Italian-American coming of age on an upstate New York apple farm in the 1940s.

I'm pleased to introduce, Sadie Penzato. (Sadie speaks.)


My last task today is to explain how this event fits into the larger renovation of the entire van den Berg Learning Center.

Our community is one of ideas and of people, but an educational institution is also known for its bricks and mortar. This structure, which has stood since 1930 at New Paltz, will continue to be a center of learning for those who plan to study business and nursing here.

Phase I of the renovation-which is being successfully carried out by U.W. Marx of Troy-included a complete gutting and overhaul of the infrastructure of the building to bring it into the 21st century in terms of classroom space and technology. It also included build-out of the first floor.

Phase II, which has also begun, involves completion of the second and third floors.

The entire project is slated for completion in 2005.

I know our dean of the School of Business in particular can't get in the building soon enough!

I want to thank you all for coming out today---but first, let's raise our mugs to New Paltz's proud past and glorious future. And, I should note, that the new clock tower is made of aluminum, not wood!

Today, we patch a tear in the fabric of our community!