BY LOHR McKINSTRY Press-Republican
---- — TICONDEROGA — A project to create a student dorm for North Country Community College’s Ticonderoga Campus is getting a $300,000 infusion of cash.
JASAMA LLC, a company operated by Ticonderoga resident James Major, was just awarded the loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program.
Major is chairman of the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving the community.
U.S. Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) said the loan will fund the proposed rehabilitation of the Huestis Building at 92 Montcalm St. in Ticonderoga for the dormitory.
When completed, the project will create new housing for 16 NCCC students. Major said about half the rooms already have student commitments for a fall semester opening.
BAKERY TO OPEN
Libby’s Bakery and Cafe is preparing to open at 6 a.m. Saturday on the first floor of the building. It will be operated by pastry chef Claire Brown, chef Katy Lewis and business manager Andrew Rasmus.
The Bakery and Cafe will offer breakfast and lunch, pies, cakes, cookies, pastries and breads.
JASAMA will convert the apartments on the second floor of the Huestis Building, which previously housed an antiques store, into two quad rooms for out-of-area students. Each will consist of four double-occupancy dorm rooms with a shared kitchen and a common room for study.
The project is the first step in a series of planned improvements by JASAMA to its Montcalm Street properties that involve converting them to student housing and allowing NCCC to increase enrollment at its Ticonderoga Campus, Owens said.
“I am pleased to see the USDA stepping in to assist students at NCCC and the community with this loan,” he said in a news release. “When members of the public and private sectors, like JASAMA and NCCC work together, communities reap the benefits.”
North Country Community College President Dr. Stephen Steven Tyrell said they are happy to partner with JASAMA for student housing needs.
“With the support of the USDA, we will be able to take the next step in growing the Ticonderoga community and with providing our students with on-the-ground opportunities to engage in solving community-based problems,” he said in the release.
Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said she was delighted to hear the loan has been issued.
“It fits in with North Country’s potential expansion curriculum. It’s very exciting. The community and region will benefit immensely as North Country Community College moves forward with expansion efforts.”
JASAMA should be praised for investing in Ticonderoga’s future, she said.
READY FOR FALL
Part of the JASAMA plan is that, by fall 2014, the second and third floors of the former Cobbler’s Bench Furniture Store, farther down Montcalm Street, will be turned into housing for 48 students.
Major said Tyrell should get a lot of the credit on the project “for his vision and energy and support for the revitalization of Ticonderoga.
“This is the best of all worlds — financing for a private project that will bring business downtown, increase the footprint of the college, rehabilitate a building constructed in the 1800s and start a new consortium for the future,” he said by email.
“Our plans include supporting additional student housing and the future expansion of NCCC in the Ticonderoga area.”
Work on the dormitory is under way, and is expected to be ready for the college’s fall semester this year. Major estimated the total cost at more than double the USDA loan amount, with his firm paying the remainder.
The Ticonderoga Campus has about 150 students now, and the availability of dormitory housing is expected to significantly increase those numbers, college officials said.
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