Press-Republican

Local News

November 29, 2013

NCCC seeks $9 million in upgrades

MALONE — North Country Community College wants its sponsor counties to fund a 15-year bond for up to $9 million to renovate and upgrade the Saranac Lake campus.

The state would pay half the cost, and Franklin and Essex counties would be asked to split the other half, which could be a much as $231,500 each a year, if the most extensive plan is funded at 5 percent interest.

OPTIONS AND COSTS

College President Dr. Steve Tyrell explained three options to Franklin County legislators and the Finance Committee of the Essex County Board of Supervisors recently.

The options are:

▶ Creating a welcome center and completing infrastructure maintenance, with each county paying $71,170 a year.

▶ Creating a welcome center, the infrastructure maintenance and $3 million in new construction and renovation of existing campus buildings, with each county paying $142,300 a year.

▶ Creating a welcome center, infrastructure maintenance and $6 million in renovations and renovations, with each county paying $213,500 annually.

RECRUITMENT ROLE

Tyrell said community colleges and the State University of New York established the capital project bond-match program years ago to ensure campuses would be kept in good repair and upgraded to meet their needs.

Since NCCC was opened in 1967, it has had one bond-match project, and that was in the 1970s.

Tyrell said other small colleges like his are far ahead of NCCC in keeping up their physical infrastructure.

Even though overall enrollment has increased in recent years, he said, the condition of buildings on the Saranac Lake campus is turning off some potential students.

Tyrell said the sponsors have given funds toward capital improvements in the past few budgets and the college has used millions from its operating budget to keep buildings usable, but those actions are no longer enough to meet the escalating repair and renovations needs.

He said the improvements would be based on the college’s master plan from 2010 and would help with student recruitment, which translates to higher enrollment.

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