New Health Sciences Center to Transform Learning and Landscape of Queens Campus

March 24, 2021

St. John’s University has been awarded a $5 million New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grant (HECap) that will be used to help finance the construction of a new building—a Health Sciences Center at the Queens, NY, campus.

“The University’s new Health Sciences Center will enable St. John’s to train the next generation of caregivers at a time of tremendous change and opportunity in health care,” said Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President.

“This HECap grant not only benefits our learning community; it also creates construction jobs and drives investment to help our neighbors. I appreciate the efforts of our elected leaders and the HECap Board for their continued support of this innovative public-private partnership.”

In the latest round of HECap funding, $57.2 million in awards for capital projects was awarded; St. John’s was one of just 35 private, nonprofit colleges and universities across New York to succeed in the competitive grant program. This is the third time that the University has successfully earned a HECap grant. Since 2005, St. John’s has been awarded more than $16 million in HECap funding, and has leveraged those funds with institutional resources to generate local jobs and economic activity. St. John’s earned the maximum award allowed under the public-private partnership.

“The new Health Sciences Center will provide state-of-the-art technology and flexible room layouts to allow for a multitude of teaching and learning styles,” remarked Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D., Dean, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The construction of a new Health Sciences Center will support and house existing and forthcoming health sciences programs in one facility. The proposed scope of work includes taking down St. Vincent Hall to construct a new academic building with active learning classrooms, laboratories, simulation facilities, office space, collaborative spaces, outdoor terrace, and roof-mounted solar panels (a total of 67,000 square feet). Based upon estimates from a professional firm and construction manager, the proposed new Health Sciences Center is estimated to cost approximately $78 million.

Work is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2021, and the building is slated to be ready for occupancy and available for students and classes by Fall 2024. The Health Sciences Center will promote interprofessional education amongst existing academic programs, and will enable students to learn together and work as a team, similar to the real-world situation found in any clinical setting. Additionally, the new Health Sciences Center will house state-of-the-art simulation facilities for students to learn in a safe and realistic clinical environment before embarking upon required clinical rotation requirements at off-campus sites.

HECap funds are administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and are only made available to private colleges across New York State. The HECap program, created in 2005, seeks to support private colleges, help create construction jobs, and drive economic activity to communities that are home to private colleges. Schools that receive HECap grants are required to invest three dollars in institutional funds for every one dollar received in state funds. Since the program’s inception, HECap grants have created well over $1 billion in infrastructure spending across New York and more than 14,000 jobs, including 7,000 construction jobs that paid the prevailing wage.