St. Francis College celebrates the grand opening of new campus with local leaders

people cut ribbon at st. francis college downtown brooklyn campus
Local leaders and school officials came together to celebrate the grand opening of St. Francis College’s new campus in Downtown Brooklyn on Sept. 21.
Photo courtesy St. Francis College

Local leaders and school officials gathered at St. Francis College’s new Livingston Street location on September 21 to celebrate the grand opening of its new custom-designed campus in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn.

According to SFC administration, the school now features over 30 modern classrooms, eight science labs with fresh technological structures, a 300-seat auditorium, a dining hall, private entrance, a nursing simulation lab, three multi-use computer labs and an outdoor terrace overlooking the skyscrapers of Downtown Brooklyn.

Leaders have been searching for a new location for years

Miguel Martinez-Saenz, the president of St. Francis, said the new development will enact a diverse learning environment with a college campus that is fully reflective of the world. 

new st. francis staircase
Students sit on a new staircase at St. Francis College’s brand-new Downtown Brooklyn campus, which features new computer and nursing labs, a dining hall, and more. Photo courtesy St. Francis College

“We are honored to celebrate the grand opening of this incredible new campus with the community that we have been a part of for more than 160 years,” said Martinez-Saenz.  “St. Francis College is proudly committed to providing an unmatched values-based education in the heart of New York City, and our new campus deepens our ability to deliver on that promise to our students and neighbors. By opening the College’s doors to the leaders of tomorrow, we are excited to be part of the journey that will help students, their families and their communities thrive for generations to come.” 

At the opening ceremony Denis Salamone, the chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees, said leaders of the college started discussing relocating ten years ago. The former campus was in need of significant improvements, however, because of the economic climate at the time, they felt renovations wouldn’t be possible. Martinez-Saenz then proposed a vision to build a campus students would be eager to come to. 

Directors the relocation search by forming a joint management committee with school leaders, board members and other building consultants. Salamone says over the course of two years, their broker sourced over 100 potential locations.

“Our priority was to stay in Brooklyn. We looked at properties in Sunset Park, Gowanus, DUMBO, Park Slope and Crown Heights,” said Salamone. “Just as the property search fatigue was beginning to set in the miracle of 179 Livingston presented itself right in our own backyard.”

While the new location is a little smaller than St. Francis’ original campus, it’s “more functional and flexible” and better suited to serve its students, a rep told Brooklyn Paper last year

Local government officials, including Mayor Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and state Senator Andrew Gounardes celebrated the new campus.

“We’re proud that Brooklyn is home to so many institutions of higher education, and we’re excited to be gaining another transformative, future-forward center for education with St. Francis’ new campus,” said Reynoso. “This brand-new campus and its state-of-the-art resources will give students the tools to leave a long-lasting and positive mark on their communities, companies and governments. I’m so grateful to St. Francis for their commitment to quality education and to growing a diverse, dedicated student body right here in the best borough in the city.”

The future of St. Francis College

Gounardes, who says he represents the most St. Francis students as senator, spoke at the opening and surprised the crowd with a $225k grant to finish the technology building. 

religious officials at st. francis college
School officials and representatives from the local diocese celebrated the grand opening of the new location, which leaders have been scouting for years. Photo courtesy St. Francis College

The move is a part of “SFC Forward,” a vision for the school’s future in the coming years, which includes introducing new majors academic programs and providing more remote or hybrid learning opportunities. The College aims to grow the community to more than 3,500 students by 2026.  The majority of the St. Francis students come from within New York City and more than half are first-generation college students, according to the school. 

“St. Francis College is bridging the higher education gap by providing a first-rate affordable education to students regardless of background, and we are already seeing this two weeks into the semester,” said Jennifer Lancaster, Vice President for Academic affairs. “Our students strive to become leaders-of-industries as they contribute to a more just, equitable society, and their SFC experience will propel them to achieve that dream.”