ESD Announces Utica College to Establish New Online Division in Downtown Utica
UC to Rent 4th,5th Floors of Harza Building
The college receives $250,000 grant from Empire State Development
Utica, NY (12/13/2012)- Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that Utica College, an independent, private college located in Utica, NY, will lease space in downtown Utica’s Harza Building for the expansion of its Online Division. The expanded online education program will help the college to attract students from far-reaching locations over the next five to seven years. The project, which is being supported by a $250,000 State grant, will retain 27 jobs and create 25 new, permanent jobs over the next five years.
“Utica College's decision to expand and create jobs in downtown Utica is great news for the community, including students and area businesses,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “By making a quality college degree attainable online, this project encourages more New Yorkers to seek out higher education and is building a workforce that will grow the regional economy by helping industries expand. I commend President Hutton for his approach to delivering a solid education, and Tom Clark for bringing new life to one of Utica's most prominent downtown locations.”
The availability of higher education programs online is on the rise, and all of Utica College’s programs will be face increased competition as more colleges enter the online world. Through its Online Division, Utica College will be able to compete nationally with its offerings of 38 undergraduate majors, 29 minors, 20 graduate degree programs, and a number of pre-professional and special programs. Additionally, the college offers several programs that address emerging disciplines, including cybersecurity and economic crime, and areas of high need such as nursing and health professions.
Utica College currently has 1,300 online students; plans call for the addition of more educational programs in the future, which will, in turn, add more jobs. The college hopes to increase its numbers of online students to 4,000 over the next five to seven years.
Todd S. Hutton, president, Utica College said, “With today’s announcement, Utica College joins an elite group of forward-looking, entrepreneurial colleges that recognize the power of online learning to provide affordable, career-focused courses for working adults. Our goal is to expand the number of online programs we currently offer, adding between two and five programs each year.”
Utica College’s new Online Division will be located in leased space in downtown Utica’s Harza building. Once a department store, the Harza building is an 87,500-square-foot historic property located on Genesee Street in the central downtown Utica area long known as “Busy Corner.” This project will allow the college to continue to expand upon its long history as an educational leader in the Mohawk Valley, and as one of the city’s main economic drivers.
To accommodate expansion into the Harza building, the college will renovate 16,000 square feet to include electrical upgrades, carpeting, office build-outs, stairwell improvements, data and phone wiring upgrades, and fiber infrastructure to the building. The project will also include the purchase and installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment to support the initial set-up of back office operations with workstations, computers and furniture, smart conference room facilities, copiers, scanners, fax machines, phone systems, building signage, and moving costs, which would include ties to the college’s main campus network.
The building was renovated by the Utica Industrial Development Agency in the early 1990s, but fell on hard times after a major tenant vacated the building. After many years of attempting to to identify find long-term tenants, the largely empty building was purchased in August 2012 by Utica businessman Harold “Tom” Clark, who is also president of the neighboring Adirondack Bank Building and owner of a local chain of McDonald’s restaurants.
“I have a long history with Utica College, so I am excited that they have decided to start their new venture in downtown Utica,” said Tom Clark, owner/operator of McDonald's Restaurants and CEO of Adirondack Bank.
ESD will provide Utica College with a $250,000 City by City capital grant to assist the College’s move into the Harza Building, the retention of 27 jobs and the creation of 25 new, permanent jobs. In addition to ESD’s assistance, the college will be matching the State’s investment into the project.
Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said, “Today history is being made. Tom Clark, Todd Hutton and our New York State partners helping to transform our city. The revitalization of the Harza Building and Utica College’s expansion brings new hope and new life to Downtown Utica.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said, “This is a very good step for the city of Utica and our entire region. We all know how much Tom Clark’s past and current investments in downtown Utica have been vital to the preservation of future potential of downtown Utica. This new activity in the heart of downtown will help bring new vitality to the city. By putting this important program in this vital space, Tom Clark and College President Todd Hutton have taken a big step forward. I applaud their efforts and thank them for their work to develop this project.”
Senator Joseph Griffo said, “Utica College’s commitment to downtown Utica is an important part of the city’s hopes for a revitalized downtown. I particularly want to voice my deep gratitude to Tom Clark, who, in the tradition of successful businessmen such as the Proctors investing the community, has done so much for downtown Utica and for Utica College. Utica College offers educational excellence in many areas, and this project will help them enhance Utica’s footprint in on-line education. This is a tremendous win-win for the community and college.”
Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi said, “This announcement today shows that there is indeed a future in Utica’s downtown business district. I think Utica College’s decision to grow in the Harza Building will lead to continued growth and economic development downtown. It is good to see this landmark building being used to employ local residents for a program that educates students.”
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I Love NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.