The school has now moved into a state of the art, 40,000-square-foot space at the Forest Hills Tower at 118-33 Queens Blvd. Fully equipped with a new outdoor pavilion, specialized Allied Health wing, student commons, academic resource center, student café, campus store and a new library, school administrators say they are optimistic about the future and potential for incoming students.
At the end of the day, Dr. Darryl Anderson, the medical program director at Plaza College, said he views the fire as a savior for the program.
“We lost everything,” Anderson said of the fire. “But with the new institution and the new equipment, it brings forth a positive aspect for the students, because the students are now really amped and motivated.”
The new patient simulation laboratory is fully equipped with tools needed to recreate a professional medical office and teach the basics of medical assisting, which is Plaza College's speciality.
“I love what I do, and it is my responsibility not only to educate the students, but to keep that motivation,” Anderson said, adding that he predicts the improvements will only increase the department’s 90 percent pass rate.
Library assistant Budi Rasul said the school lost nearly 10,000 books in the blaze earlier this year.
“It was all gone in the fire,” Rusal said.
And although the book shelves are sparingly filled with whatever was donated by faculty, the 16-year Plaza college veteran said she is confident that they will one day rebound fully.
“We have all of our computers in the back if they need to research anything until we get the books in,” assured Rusal’s co-worker Maureen Cardoza. “This is really a great opportunity for the library to refurbish everything.”
College provost Charles Callahan was honored at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at last week with proclamations from dozens of local elected officials.
“At Plaza College, great care has been given to stay true to our mission, which is helping students find meaningful employment and prosperous career opportunities,” Callahan said.
Plaza College senior Melinda Negron said she has been amazed at how quickly the school got back on its feet and that classes started on July 15.
“We were forced to leave in the most tragic of consequences, however we were so truly blessed to have such a miraculous new home await us in the end,” Negron said. “Now everywhere you turn you become excited to be a Plaza student.”
She added that the students have found inspiration in the new school and look forward to the fall semester.
“The new Plaza College is more than just a new building,” she said. “Ever since this campus opened in July, there has been an outburst of positive energy everywhere around us. It has been contagious throughout the building."