Nassau County Community College and Long Island University have joined forces with Las Vegas Sands to develop a hospitality program for students as the casino operator seeks approval for opening an entertainment center at the Nassau Coliseum site.
The partnership between the two colleges will allow students to advance their two-year associate’s degree into a four-year bachelor’s degree, officials said. The program, according to Sands officials, would be beneficial to graduates seeking to pursue a variety of hospitality roles.
“Sands believes in the power of true partnership and we strive to create an environment of collaboration around all of our developments,” Sands Vice President Ron Reese said in a statement. “We are extraordinarily proud to be working with Long Island University and Nassau Community College to build a world-class hospitality program, creating new pathways to success for Long Islanders.”
Long Island University President Kimberly Cline said the college was proud to work with Sands to aid future students in achieving academic excellence on Long Island. Long Island University, through the partnership, will look for approval for additional bachelor’s and master’s degree offerings to support careers in hospitality management and culinary arts, officials said.
“The creation of new studies specializing in hospitality management and culinary arts will offer unparalleled experiential learning and access to professional opportunities that will launch students to successful careers,” Cline said.
Nassau Community College said it will be serving as a training hub for potential Sands employees and that the collaboration between the two would be contingent on the Sands gaining approval to develop their multibillion- dollar entertainment center at the site of the Nassau Coliseum and the surrounding area known as the Nassau Hub.
“Sands believes in the power of true partnership and we strive to create an environment of collaboration around all of our developments,” Reese said in a statement. “We are extraordinarily proud to be working with Long Island University and Nassau Community College to build a world-class hospitality program, creating new pathways to success for Long Islanders,” Nassau Community College Acting Vice President Maria Conzatti said in a statement.
Sands’ previous partnerships with educational institutes include Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania and University of Las Vegas in Nevada. The company also established a $1 million scholarship program in Singapore to promote careers in hospitality.
Reese and David Paterson, the former New York governor, said the company’s plan includes a casino, hotel, a live performance venue, restaurants and a spa.
Reese told Blankha Slate Media in January the hotel will have at least 800 rooms, the live performance venue will have a 5,000-7,500 seat capacity and there will be roughly 400,000 square feet of “corporate meeting facilities” to go along with other amenities.
Paterson said the company has a self-imposed April 1 deadline to have the application completed and be ready to go before the state. Reese said the company launched the plans to develop the Hub into this entertainment center a few weeks ago and did not make any commitment on what the fate of the Nassau Coliseum would be.
Despite the company’s name, Reese said, Nassau residents should not anticipate structures that belong in Las Vegas coming to Long Island.
“I want to be clear that I don’t want to call it a Las Vegas-style resort because I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Reese said. “It will be Las Vegas-style in terms of amenities, but the size and design is going to fit in with the local look and architecture.”
Hofstra University, which also borders the proposed site like Nassau Community College, released a letter opposing the Sands’ plan last week.
“The Nassau Hub is an entirely inappropriate location for a casino,” Hofstra trustees said in their letter. “There are other locations in and around New York City to site a casino that are not in such proximity to multiple educational institutions where so many young people live and learn.”
Some Nassau residents have also made their opposition to the plans heard in recent days, including the Lakeville Estates Civic Association. The group, based out of New Hyde Park, said that 218 of its members voted to oppose the plans for a casino.
A total of 266 members cast ballots, with four abstaining, according to the group’s Facebook post on Monday. Dozens also rallied outside the Nassau County Legislative Building in Mineola on Monday to oppose the proposal.