St. John’s sells Oakdale property

St. John’s University announced a deal last Thursday to sell its Oakdale campus to the Joint Industry Board of Electrical Industry (JIB), a Flushing-based labor-management group.

The sale of the 175-acre campus, which is located on the Great South Bay in Suffolk County, contains a leasing stipulation that allows the University to continue its graduate courses on the site over the next 10 years.

Graduate degree programs delivered by the Oakdale campus such as Library and Information Science, Criminal Justice Leadership, School Psychology and Educational Administration and Supervision will not be disturbed by the sale and more are expected to be added.

“We will continue to be a vibrant academic presence in Oakdale for many years to come,” said university president the Rev. Donald J. Harrington C.M. “We believe this agreement is in the best interest of our students and our University, and allows us to continue to serve the Long Island community.”

The Oakdale campus was never intended to become a “full service” university campus similar to the ones in Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens. Some of the facilities at the Oakdale go unused and for this reason the school’s officials considered purchase offers.

JIB is a company that works closely with the Local No. 3 Chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers by improving professionalism and providing financial security for its members. Among other services, JIB administers lectures and seminars concerning industry advances, safety requirements and techniques, and employment prospects.

The new site will continue the educational aspects of JIB by using the buildings for seminars for its union members and as a summer camp for the members’ children.

Vito Mundo, the general council for JIB, said that the company plans on “renovating the buildings that are there and using it for educational purposes

“We think [the Oakdale property] will suit our needs very nicely,” he added. Mundo said that the new property will replace 350 acres in South Hampton that JIB sold about three years ago.

The St. John’s University Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the sale but it is still contingent to the approval of the Town of Islip.

The campus at Oakdale was originally the LaSalle Center, a K-12 school along with a military academy. The campus was bought from the De La Salle Christian Brothers by St. John’s University in 1999 in an effort to keep Christian education going. The school finally closed in June 2001.