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.
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.
The NCCC Foundation owns the property for the student welcome center, which would consolidate three offices.
During his presentation in Elizabethtown, Tyrell was asked more about the planned welcome center.
“It’s nice to have all this, but what’s actually needed on campus to increase enrollment?” said Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava.
“Do you feel that by remodeling the school, you’re going to be able to entice students from other schools?” said Willsboro Supervisor Edward Hatch.
“If we’re going to continue moving forward with this institution, we’ve got to do something about how we present ourselves,” Tyrell said.
He has five names of Essex County officials to select from to create the joint committee.
Legislators Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake) and District 7 Legislator-elect Barbara Rice (D-Saranac Lake) will likely be among Franklin County’s contingent.
Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) said he would have a list of others for Tyrell before Thursday.
The college president said he’d like the joint meetings to be held at the Saranac Lake campus and to begin right after Thanksgiving.
He said members would likely be taken on a tour of the campus to see the needs first-hand.
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