Borough President Diaz’s $525K Allocation Will Help Complete $5.5 Million Social Work Department Expansion Project

Borough President Diaz’s $525K Allocation Will Help Complete $5.5 Million Social Work Department Expansion Project
By Alonza Robertson

Lehman College will receive $525,000 of city funding through the Office of Bronx Borough President Rubén Diaz Jr. to complete a Department of Social Work renovation project in Davis Hall.

“I am proud to support Lehman College in educating the next generation of social workers by allocating funding towards a new facility and to provide furniture, equipment and technology for the Social Work Department expansion,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “As a Lehman alum myself, I know firsthand how this school can jumpstart a lifetime of economic and social mobility for its students, many of whom are the first generation in their family to attend college classes.”

The $5.5 million renovation project will convert existing science labs on Davis Hall’s first floor to 11,000 square feet of teaching labs, 20 full-time faculty offices that provide the required privacy for social work students completing field practicum experience, 11 administrative staff offices, a departmental office, student computer workrooms and a large computer teaching lab. The project includes collaborative learning and consulting space that will welcome use by not only current staff and students but alumni and community members too.

“We offer free continuing education classes, which are a licensing requirement, for all New York City social workers assigned to government agencies,” said Department of Social Work Chair Carl Mazza. “We can do that a lot more comfortably now.”

The new design will allow the department, which currently serves 300 undergrads and 200 graduate students, to grow its program and accommodate additional students, Mazza said.

“All of our social work people are thrilled to finally get their new space,” said Elgloria Harrison, the new dean of the School of Health Sciences, Human Services and Nursing (H2N) at Lehman which includes the Social Work Department.

“To be a program that has done a great job in the community and to now have community leaders who see the program has value and should be supported, is special,” she said.

“This is going to be transformative and will dramatically improve the facilities for Social Work and our students’ learning,” said Elin Waring, the former H2N interim dean.

Public education is a priority for me and I believe that it is imperative to invest in Lehman College and other CUNY institutions so that they have the tools to provide their students with the highest level of training right here in their own neighborhood,” Diaz said.

Additional funding was also recently secured from New York City Councilman Andrew Cohen who through the recent council budget process allocated an additional $525,000 for the project. The remaining funding was secured through additional city and state capital allocations.

“Lehman depends on the support of its elected officials,” Waring said. “We understand that this is a difficult budget year, so we are very appreciative of [both Cohen and Diaz] this year and over the years.”