July 20, 2013

'College towns' in the works



Tyrell said NCCC was not successful last year when it applied for a $10 million grant through SUNY 2020 to launch biotech and tourism-related curriculum at its Saranac Lake campus.

But the college will resubmit a tweaked version of same application with different potential investors this year, and he is confident NCCC will be funded this time around.

Plans include an incubator concept for small-business development to produce as many as 40 jobs, housing for 200 students downtown and 12 additional faculty positions.

These projects could generate $5.7 million in related economic development, Tyrell said.

The investors would provide the latest laboratory equipment and other materials, he said, to aid the students in learning new skills to help them secure jobs in their field of study after college.


Two unused buildings are targeted for as much as $7.5 million in investment to wed the Malone NCCC campus to downtown, where ag-related technologies that provide sustainable energy would be developed, including hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics, Tyrell said.

Hydroponics could involve growing certain fruits and plants and raising delicacy fish for high-end restaurants in New York City, providing fresh produce year-round, as well as income.

“Certain fish grow well with certain vegetables,” he said, adding that the plant waste feeds the fish and the fish waste feeds the plants, so the process is environmentally sound.


Legislators were impressed with the concept.

“This vision is unbelievable,” said Marc “Tim” Lashomb (R-Malone). “The potential is huge, and the partnerships will drive economic growth in Franklin County.”

Tyrell said developing a long-term plan like this has “always been in my head.

“We’re looking at how to grow and be sustainable, and we have to develop public partnerships to make this work,” he said of the college. 

“We’re a leveraging opportunity. There’s no reason why we can’t more forward.”

Email Denise A.

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