Press-Republican

November 18, 2013

NCCC moving forward with Malone campus expansion

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — A three-phase plan by North Country Community College to renovate buildings in Malone is still in need of funding.

The project was not chosen in August as a funding priority by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

College President Dr. Steve Tyrell directed questions about the project to Bob Hest of Fuller Communications, who helped prepare the consolidated financial application that NCCC sent to the Economic Development Council last summer. 

Despite not being picked, the plan for restoration of the Flanagan Hotel and the Lashomb building next to it are still very much part of ongoing economic-development discussions, according to Hest.

OTHER SOURCES

He said the project is not precluded from state-funding awards.

The Economic Development resource streams have several layers. And NCCC’s Malone project qualifies for support from four sources, Hest explained.

“The CFA (consolidate financial application) for all three phases looks to spend $11.7 million, though the state-aid request is $1.25 million,” Hest said of the project.

Build-out would extent up to 42 months, starting in January.

BUILDING RENOVATIONS

The college renovation targets revitalization at the center of Malone, bringing 150 to 175 additional students to downtown classrooms.

“Phase 1 is rehabilitation of the Lashomb building, a three-story building next to the Flanagan Hotel. In that will go NCCC art studios for the fine arts, including a foundry for metal-working,” Hest said.

“Phase 1 also includes renovating the ground floor of the Flanagan, to be utilized as classrooms, student services center and a bookstore, along with offices for instructors.”

The entire $3 million targeted for Phase 1 is from private investors.

Work on the Lashomb and on the ground floor of the Flanagan is slated to begin in January, looking to open for NCCC students in fall 2014.

“The banks are waiting to see what is going to happen with the state’s interest in the project,” Hest said.

The top three floors of the Flanagan would be developed privately as a hotel property.

HYDRO, AGRICULTURE

Phase 2 of NCCC’s Malone  project includes refurbishing of the River Street Building — the site on the Salmon River that houses the hydroelectric generator — and three floors above it.

The upper floors are slated to be converted into controlled-environment agriculture rooms, part of a new NCCC program being developed in connection with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Hest said.

The hydroelectric plant is being restored by a private company in Malone.

“The college is working with a private developer, TAP Industries, based in Malone,” Hest said, “and would purchase power from the hydro plant.” 

The hydropower plant would bring a 350-kilowatt generator online, providing power for NCCC kilns and forges and for its agricultural-technology programs.

Other rooms in what the college calls the “River building” would become incubator space for businesses working with students in startup agricultural and related tech companies. 

STUDENT HOUSING

“Phase 2 also includes the development of student housing. We are looking to renovate the former dormitories of the Ursuline nuns, which are now vacant,” Hest said.

Phase 3 of NCCC’s Malone project proposes additional college infrastructure downtown.

It is likely that state funding awards will be announced in December, according to Garry Douglas, co-chair of the North Country’s Regional Council.

Via email, Douglas said he couldn’t comment on any of the pending applications from around the region.

“The Regional Council helps score projects through an objective process, with 80 percent of scoring being done by the relevant state agencies. No decisions have been announced on this year’s CFA process. We expect the state will announce outcomes sometime in December,” Douglas said.

‘EMERGING CONCEPT’

Hest says the restoration project looks to integrate NCCC into the larger Malone community.

“The vision that Steve has of becoming more integrated is an emerging concept,” Hest said.

“The initiative in a community like Malone with what Dr. Tyrell has proposed provides a road map for improving downtown.”

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com