The ownership transition was fairly seamless. Unlike the transfer of the APA's Paul Smiths VIC to Paul Smith's College, a private not-for-profit institution, the Newcomb VIC was transferred from state agency to a state college. There was no need to de-accession state-owned property and move out like the APA was required to do in Paul Smiths. In Newcomb, it was literally a turn-key exchange of the building on July 1, 2010, with all its assets intact, including exhibits and educational tools.
"We were really fortunate with our partnership with the APA," Hai said.
A welcome addition
Hai is also the program coordinator for the Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training (NFI) and now splits his time between the Adirondack Interpretive Center and the Adirondack Ecological Center. The AEC is the college's research component at the Huntington Wildlife Forest, and the NFI is the education and outreach component. The NFI - formed in 2008 - uses several buildings to serve its constituents: the Masten House, the Carriage House, the Arbutus Great Camp and the AIC. Having the AIC to serve as the Institute's public venue is just what the NFI needed, according to Hai.
"It is a great piece of the puzzle," Hai said.
The NFI is a working partnership between SUNY-ESF, Open Space Institute, state Department of Environmental Conservation, Adirondack Park Agency, Northern Forest Center, Adirondack Wild, Purdue University's Department of Organizational Leadership and others. The program has three main components: 1. professional development; 2. public outreach; and 3. academic outreach (primary, secondary and collegiate).
The AIC is also expected to help the college's efforts to establish a work study program, which they plan to implement this year.
The biggest challenge for Hai during the ownership transition was the quick turnaround and the unfunded accession of new property.