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Another delay for English second language school in Ogdensburg

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Businessman James Ma has pushed back his plans to open an English-as-second-language school at the former Academy at Ivy Ridge on Route 37, town of Oswegatchie, next fall.

Mr. Ma said he hasn’t yet been authorized to issue immigration forms to prospective international students. That is a requirement if they are to obtain visas that would allow them to study in the United States.

“It is not likely to open in fall 2013,” he said. “We don’t have an new opening date yet, as we are still working on it.”

Mr. Ma also still has no commitment to participate in his school from Qingdao University and another university in his native China.

Qingdao has established exchange programs with U.S. universities and as a partner would make it easier to set up and recruit students.

“Qingdao University and the other university have been slow,” Mr. Ma said. “We are not in a position to consider student and faculty recruitment yet.”

Earlier this year, Mr. Ma settled a visa dispute of his own with the U.S. government, allowing him to re-enter the country from China.

He was initially told by U.S. officials to change his visa status from B1/B2, which is for business and tourism/non-business, to EB-5, which allows a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States.

Mr. Ma’s inability to obtain student visas was one factor in his not being able to open the school in fall 2012.

Renovations at the 238-acre campus, for which Mr. Ma paid $1.5 million in 2011, will cost an estimated $2 million.

The Academy at Ivy Ridge closed in 2009.

Prior to its presence there, the campus housed Mater Dei College, operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Mr. Ma’s other investments in the town include 102 acres of land off Route 37 by Lee Road for development of a 20-home subdivision and the former United Helpers Cedars Nursing Home, nearby on Route 37, which he plans possibly to convert into a hotel or office space.

In Ogdensburg, he owns the former Sholette’s Steak and Ale restaurant at 1000 Linden St. There, he plans to open a Chinese restaurant and specialty shops.

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