Plans have been announced for the new home for the Wayne County campus of Lackawanna College. By the fall of 2010, students are expected to be taking classes at the Hawley Silk Mill, where the college eventually will occupy the entire third floor.


  Plan shave been announced for the new home for the Wayne County campus of Lackawanna College. By the fall of 2010, students are expected to be taking classes at the Hawley Silk Mill, where the college eventually will occupy the entire third floor.
Chris Kucharski, Director of Marketing and Communications for Lackawanna College, said that they needed more space and room to grow and attract more students with an expanded curriculum.  Presently they have about 2,500 square feet of useable space in the former Katz store on Main Street in Honesdale, and have been looking for a more adequate site for about five years.
With initial plans to lease 7500 square feet, Lackawanna College plans to offer all 23 of its current degree programs at the new location. In addition to the existing programs, a number of new degrees are being considered including Hotel & Restaurant Management, Recreational Management, and even the possibility of a Sales Institute. The college expects to grow quickly occupying the entire16,000 square feet available on the third floor. The name of the new center is still to be determined.
Hawley Silk Mill is a new venture unfolding in a grand old textile factory built in 1880 of local blue stone. The castellated structure, on top Wellwood Avenue and just off Route 6, was purchased in January 2009 by a group of local investors after Castle Antiques closed its doors. A mix of retail, office space and educational uses are planned, along with a museum to the region’s storied textile industry.
The project received a major boost earlier this month when Hawley Borough Council agreed to close a section of Wellwood Avenue in front of the mill, which will create a safer environment for pedestrians and needed parking.
The announcement by Lackawanna College President, Ray Angeli came at a community outreach event held in Hawley, on Thursday night.
In a press release, Hawley Silk Mill Partner John Shuman stated, “We are pleased to partner with Lackawanna College to bring education to the Borough of Hawley. We purchased the building with the intent of creating a project that would provide education, jobs, and economic growth to the region. We couldn’t stand by and allow this historic anchor building in our community to become a mini-warehouse. Lackawanna College shares our vision for the property and we are excited to work with them to create a new education center in this historic landmark.”
Borough Council President, Don Kyzer remarked, “On behalf of the Borough of Hawley, our community, and all residents, the council welcomes you to our community and we look forward to working with Lackawanna College to provide educational opportunities to our residents. We pledge our full support.”
Angeli commented, “We are coming to Hawley and will open the doors of our new Hawley Center by fall of 2010. We are excited by the many possibilities the new location will offer.”
Lackawanna College’s lease at the Honesdale site is up in June, said Kucharski. In the event that the Hawley Silk Mill location is not ready in time for starting the fall 2010 semester, he said that Wallenpaupack Area School District has offered use of their facilities in the interim.
Lackawanna College began in 1894. Previously known as Lackawanna Junior College, they continued as a private two year institution and does not receive state or federal dollars unlike at a community college. Students are able to continue at the Scranton campus and pursue a four year degree, through an agreement with Misericordia College. Kucharski said that they eventually hope to be able to extend this program at the Hawley campus, and perhaps enter like agreements with other four year colleges.
By relocating to Hawley, only 10 miles from Honesdale, Lackawanna College anticipates that they  will still be within handy access for students in the Honesdale area, as well as be more convenient for students from the south, in Pike, said Kucharski. Students of course may choose to attend the Scranton campus.
Being tuition-based, room for future growth and expanded programs is essential to the success of the school, Kucharski added.
Community support for Lackawanna College is very high with several local businesses pledging to work with the College to tailor programs to train employees in several industry sectors. Many businesses and residents offered to help acquire equipment, develop programs, fund raise, and even lend their  expertise and experience to teach at Lackawanna College.
They have been at their present Honesdale location since 1993.
For more information on Lackawanna College visit www.lackawanna.edu or contact Chris Kucharski at (570)961-7856. To learn more about the Hawley Silk Mill adaptive reuse project, visit www.hawleysilkmill.com or call Project Executive, Troy Bystrom at (646)236-3400.