Olivet University

The campus of the future Olivet University is beginning to take shape at the site of the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Hospital in Wingdale. Cleanup crews have been pressure washing buildings, mowing lawns, pruning trees long neglected, painting doors.  The newly washed brickwork gives the buildings hope for a second career.  The marble sills and details suggest these buildings were built to last, that they deserve a second chance. 

The main roadway heading East has been repaved, the street lights have been refurbished, the trees trimmed making the place look more like a college campus than an abandoned state institution which it was but a few weeks ago. 

The American flag is flying next to the Olivet Center sign in front of the main building visible from Rte. 22.  The uplift to the property is noticeable to anyone who drives by. 

Olivet Management, which manages four other sites around the country, in Houston, Nashville, Des Moines and Atlanta, are self-described as a “real estate development and management company specializing in school and commercial properties across the United States.”

ByNot a parking space was to be had at the Dover High School on the evening of September 4. The Town of Dover held their regular meeting at the Middle School auditorium to inform and accommodate the crowd of residents who wanted to learn more about the college that has purchased the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric center whose abandoned buildings have haunted the Wingdale section of town for over twenty years.  

Supervisor Ryan Courtien moderated as speakers from Olivet, consultants to the town and Kathy Schibanoff, new CEO of Olivet Management, presented their plans for redveloping the site. Over an hour was allotted for written questions from the public.

Ms. Schibanoff recalled the history of the property, explaining how 5,000 people in the area lost their jobs when New York State closed the facility in 1994.  

“We had a grant when I headed up the Harlem Valley Partnership to study the re-use of the buildings.  It was difficult to find an appropriate use for the site.”

In a meeting with representatives of Olivet University and Olivet Management late last week, this paper learned that Olivet University in San Francisco has approximately 250 on-campus students and is in its tenth year of operation. It has seven areas of specialization, forming seven colleges. They are Theology, Music, Graphic Design, Journalism, Language Education, Business and Information Technology.

Olivet Management was formed to run the properties that have been acquired with a view to expanding the university. In addition to the Dover Knolls property in the Town of Dover, Olivet Management currently manages other properties in the United States, including one in Houston, Texas.  

Olivet University presently has a business school that offers business courses in New York City. It has applied for a charter from the New York State Department of Education that would authorize it to create a new, Christian based university in the state.

In a meeting with representatives of Olivet University and Olivet Management late last week, this paper learned that Olivet University in San Francisco has approximately 250 on-campus students and is in its tenth year of operation. It has seven areas of specialization, forming seven colleges. They are Theology, Music, Graphic Design, Journalism, Language Education, Business and Information Technology.

Olivet Management was formed to run the properties that have been acquired with a view to expanding the university. In addition to the Dover Knolls property in the Town of Dover, Olivet Management currently manages other properties in the United States, including one in Houston, Texas.  

Olivet University presently has a business school that offers business courses in New York City. It has applied for a charter from the New York State Department of Education that would authorize it to create a new, Christian based university in the state.

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