TICONDEROGA — North Country Community College will use state grant funds to explore conversion of the defunct Lowe’s Home Center building in Ticonderoga to an applied technology center.
The State Regional Economic Development Council gave the college $55,000 to study the feasibility of such a facility, which could be used by businesses, start-ups and multiple colleges.
The Lowe’s at the Four Corners has been vacant since it closed in late 2011, citing low sales.
NCCC Director of Communications Kristi Walter said in a news release that the results of the study will determine if the college and its partners will pursue a State Consolidated Funding Application in the future to create the applied technology center.
“The facility will enable NCCC and peer institutions to expand degree programs in Ticonderoga, could serve up to 300 students and potentially generate upwards of $1.5 million in business,” she said.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
NCCC has asked other colleges, both two- and four-year institutions, if they would like to participate in the program. The specific curriculum hasn’t been named, but NCCC President Steve Tyrell said he expects there would be an emphasis on green technology.
“I am excited to work with our faculty in exploring new possibilities for academic program development in Ticonderoga and how these programs would accelerate job growth in the region,” he said in the release.
Tyrell said he plans to move forward with the study by developing a request-for-proposals process for applicants to compete for the award money to do the study.
The RFP application will be released sometime in the spring, he said.
NCCC faculty, other colleges, private investors in the region and municipal leaders in Ticonderoga will be participants in the feasibility study.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea for Ticonderoga,” Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said.
“The project and the additional business opportunities it would create would have a great impact on our continuing efforts to revitalize Ticonderoga.”
The Ticonderoga Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the NCCC proposal.
The college would lease the 150,000-square-foot Lowe’s building, not buy it, since the school itself can’t own property.
Tyrell said the Ticonderoga program would be based on a similar program at SUNY Alfred, where he worked before coming to NCCC.
The Alfred program offers training in college-level carpentry, masonry, electrical and other construction trades. The trade school integrates energy conservation, alternative-energy use and sustainable-building design into academic programs, while concentrating on green-building technologies.
The new applied technology center could open in fall 2016, Tyrell said, if everything works out.
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