Island Offers New Opportunities for Education
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
April 1st, President George W. Bush invited New York State Governor
George Pataki and me to the White House, where he announced the
historic return of Governors Island to New York City. Until 1997,
Governors Island, which is located in Upper New York Bay just
a half-mile off the Battery, had been the site of a U.S. Coast
Guard station for more than 30 years.
Returning Governors Island to New York gives us remarkable new
opportunities to develop a world-class college campus on the island,
while simultaneously filling the desperate need for classroom
space for public high school students in our city. Governor Pataki
and I agree that the best use of Governors Island is as the site
of a “flagship” campus for the City University of New York. That
in turn will free up space on existing City University campuses
for high school classrooms.
The potential for a campus on Governors Island is truly limitless.
I strongly believe that a beautiful and inspiring physical environment
for a school has a direct impact on the quality of teaching and
learning in that school. With its spectacular views of New York
harbor, the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, Governors
Island’s world-class setting can only provide a world-class education.
And many of the existing facilities on Governors Island could
be readily adapted for use by this new City University campus,
which will hold down the cost of developing the new Governors
Our City’s younger students also will benefit from putting a City
University campus on Governors Island. Classroom space is at a
premium in New York City, and the City simply doesn’t have enough
money to build all the new schools that we need. The facility
that the Governor and I envision putting on Governors Island will
have space for as many as 10,000 City University students. Moving
CUNY students there will free up classrooms at existing City University
campuses that will be the equivalent of at least a dozen City
public high schools.
Recreation-minded New Yorkers also will benefit from the transfer
of Governors Island to New York. While it controlled Governors
Island, the Coast Guard developed an outstanding array of outdoor
athletic facilities there. Our plans for Governors Island call
for making these tennis and basketball courts, soccer fields and
ballfields, the 9-hole golf course, and miles of coastal paths
and outdoor space accessible by ferry from Manhattan to all New
Governors Island has a rich and storied past. It was the home
of the British colonial governors of New York. After independence,
it was, for more than 200 years, the home of the oldest continuously
operated military post in the United States. Today, Governors
Island has a bright future ahead of it as a major center of higher
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