RED HOOK – The Town Board is seeking more information about a proposed expansion of the Unification Theological Seminary that would increase capacity and at least triple its current enrollment of about 100.
At a board meeting last week, Deputy Supervisor Bill O’Neill said the institution in the hamlet of Barrytown in is expected to provide information soon on it long-term goals.
“They are basically in the process of doing a master plan projecting growth down there for the next 10 years,” he said.
Officials expect the Unification Theological Seminary to include additional housing units with new educational facilities.
“The actual building of buildings, even in the best-case scenario, is five years away,” said Seminary President Tyler Hendricks. “It would be an additional academic building, perhaps. We’re doing a study on the library and whether we need to expand it or not.”
Hendricks said the college, which is affiliated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, is developing figures based on maximum expansion.
“Right now we’re at a little over 100, we’re stabilized in our enrollment,” he said.
“Our internal planning is for 320, but in terms of master planning, our understanding is you think in terms that … are on the large size of your bell-shaped curve,” Hendricks said. “So, I think we’re going up to 700 to 750 as the outside envelope of what we might be facing in 10 years.”
O’Neill said plans are preliminary and was not sure when applications would be filed for site plan approval. Plans could include the seminary working jointly with the town on recreation projects.
“They have different proposals … (and), at the same time, we’re working at developing trails, which is kind of a parallel presentation,” he said.
Hendricks said the seminary has been working to become an historic resource for visitors.
“We are in discussions with the Red Hook Trails Committee,” he said. “We’ve developed three new trails called the Theodore Roosevelt trails in honor of the former president who spent his summers here when he was a boy, and we’re finding out a lot of very valuable information about Roosevelt and his time here.”
Among plans being considered is a wastewater treatment facility that could be shared for municipal use.
“They propose … to build a sewage treatment plant on the northern part (of the campus) and explore with the town using that treatment plant to service homes in the Barrytown hamlet,” O’Neill said.
Hendricks said the plant is at the “far end” of the master plan but is being considered to help improve scenic views on the 250-acre campus.
The seminary formerly housed St. Joseph’s Normal Institute, a Christian Brothers boarding school.