Keuka College president outlines projects
KEUKA PARK—More than 60 people attended the annual meeting of the Bluff Point Association Saturday, July 19 at Keuka College. During the meeting, association members listened to presentations from Keuka College and the town of Jerusalem regarding their future plans for development in the area.
Keuka College President Jorge Diaz-Herrera gave a presentation on the upcoming changes at the college, both physically and educationally. He said one of the primary focuses is to bring the curriculum into the 21st century through digital learning at Keuka. Herrera said the college will begin installing computer digital concepts in all majors since we now live in a world dominated by computer code.
“Computer programming helps you to think differently,” Herrera said. “[...] Every graduate of Keuka College is going to be armed and ready for 21st century regardless of the major.”
Herrera also went on to describe the physical changes the college will see over the next several years. He said the initiative, called “Empowering Excellence,” is a 10-year plan for a physical transformation of the home campus, curriculum and culture of the school. The president said there will be a change to the main entrance to college to include a book store, restaurant, clinic, moving of the parking lots from in front of Ball Hall to the sides, and the installation of new walkways. Herrera also said some buildings would receive additional floors for the creation of learning commons, while a 150 person amphitheater will be built along the lake shore to accommodate outside concerts. He said the funding for the project will come from state grants, philanthropy, grants from foundations and private money, adding he hopes to increase the number of students from some 1,000 currently to 1,700 by 2023.
“Our vision is to become a renowned global leader in integrating liberal arts, digital technology, experiential learning and professional practice,” Herrera said. He also said the school was recently approved to be part of the Start-Up New York program, where out of state businesses could relocate to college property and not pay taxes for 10 years, which helps to drive business growth in the area.
Jerusalem Councilman Mike Steppe also spoke during the meeting about the ongoing work on developing a local waterfront revitalization project within the town. He said while the town is not writing a grant or implementing a specific project, they are developing a strategy to foster and encourage private investment while positioning Jerusalem to become a premier Finger Lakes destination. Steppe said the town is working in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Museum, Keuka College and involved community members to achieve this goal.
“We want to lay groundwork and foundation for future grant opportunities,” Steppe said.
He said so far, some 38 projects have been identified as part of this waterfront revitalization, with around nine organizations who would be involved. Steppe said the town is looking at prioritizing these projects while also gathering additional community input. The councilman said the next steps are having a third community workshop, incorporating the additional input into the plan, presenting the draft plan to the Jerusalem town board, finalizing the document and then executing the plan.