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$53M for college a wise investment

A rendering of Farmingdale State College proposes new

A rendering of Farmingdale State College proposes new $53 million academic building to help continue grow its enrollment. Credit: Farmingdale State College

Some requests made during Albany’s budget process require debate, and some draw opposition.

Then there are others that are must-do.

The need for $53 million in state funds for a new academic building at Farmingdale State College falls into this category. The college has grown steadily over the last decade, and enrollment stands at about 10,000, compared with about 6,500 a decade ago. It is a Long Island success story.

Now classrooms are filled to capacity.

A 40,000-square-foot building has been proposed to enable the college to enroll up to 1,000 more students and to cluster together departments, including applied psychology, applied economics and geographic information systems, all skills local employers are demanding.

But this isn’t important just to the former agricultural school on Route 110. Farmingdale State College’s growth is tied to the Island’s economic growth. Its success boosts the region’s efforts to keep young workers here, to create connections between educational institutions and employers, and to add tax revenue. About 80 percent of Farmingdale’s recent graduates live on Long Island and work in the region, the college reports.

And beyond Long Island, colleges across the state should see the demand for Farmingdale’s programs, and the growth it hopes to accommodate, as a model worth replicating.

Funds for the new building weren’t in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s initial budget, so local Assembs. Steve Stern and Kimberly Jean-Pierre and State Sen. John Brooks are leading a push to get the money included.

Albany should approve this investment in Long Island’s future.

— The editorial board