On Tuesday morning, St. Francis College announced its plans to move to a newly designed campus in the center of downtown Brooklyn.
The relocation will move St. Francis a few blocks away from its current location and into a new 254,699-square-foot space across the fifth, six, and seventh floors of the Wheeler Building at 181 Livingston Street.
St. Francis College has offered a Franciscan education to New Yorkers for 162 years, and previously expanded from a small campus on Butler Street to an interconnected set of buildings on Remsen Street.
The new Livingston Street campus is expected to open in September 2022, and will help St. Francis welcome an ever-increasing number of students. In fall 2020, the school welcomed its largest first-year class ever.
“For more than 160 years, St. Francis College has demonstrated a commitment to providing an unmatched private education in the heart of New York City,” college president Miguel Martinez-Saenz. “This is a historic moment to completely re-envision our campus and meet the needs of our community, and we are thrilled to continue offering a first-rate, affordable education in a modern, flexible and welcoming learning space.”
Located above the art deco Macy’s on Livingston Street, the new campus was purposely designed to drive community engagement and innovation.
The facility includes flexible labs and classrooms, a 300-seat auditorium, a 260-seat cafeteria with kitchen, screening room for films, 6,600-square-foot library, and outdoor terraces with views of the city.
Although the new building contains no athletic facilities, St. Francis has confirmed that its athletic programs will continue without interruption and that the school is currently developing partnerships with nearby institutions for practice and competition space.
The new campus is a component of the school’s larger SFC Forward initiative, a long-term plan to modernize and make St. Francis competitive in the 21st century. Under SFC Forward, the college will offer new master of science degrees in exercise and sport science, special education, sports management and public health.
The school also plans on modifying its undergraduate education to offer more global perspectives and to allow for more remote learning options.
“Our students deserve nothing less than an education that meets the demands of the 21st-century economy,” said Jennifer Lancaster, vice president for Academic Affairs. “SFC Forward ensures that we are immersing our students in global perspectives and learning experiences, expanding into emerging fields, and reinforcing students as critical thinkers, leaders and lifelong learners.”
The campus announcement also marked an opportunity for St. Francis to celebrate its longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Self-identified Black and Hispanic students continue to make up the majority of St. Francis College’s student body, and the college also enrolls international students as 10 percent of its student body.
“We are incredibly proud that the St. Francis College community increasingly reflects the rich diversity of this city and of our world,” said Monique Moore Pryor, Chief Engagement and External Affairs Officer. “Through an academic curriculum attuned to diverse voices, recruitment and retention of the very best employees of different backgrounds, and ongoing programming that promotes open dialogue, the college will continue to champion and grow our inclusivity with intent and thoughtfulness.”
Many of Brooklyn’s elected officials have expressed their support for the new campus.
“For years, SFC has provided topnotch educational opportunities to students from Brooklyn and beyond, helping to set them up for a lifetime of success,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “This move underscores that the future of higher education in our borough and our city is bright.”
“St. Francis College has propelled social mobility and created an excellent academic environment for students seeking to take advantage of all the opportunities New York City has to offer for more than 160 years,” added Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. “I am excited for all that is in store for the College and its future students at their new campus in Brooklyn.”