posted on April 04, 2014 14:53
Key funding from the state included in this year’s budget will allow Genesee Community College to construct two new buildings, as well as tailor its course offerings to meet the industry demands of Genesee County.
$10 million in matching funds will go toward the projects. President Dr. James Sunser calls it one of the most significant capital undertakings the college has had in years.
“Two of the signature projects are the Events Center and the Student Success Center,” he said. “The balance of those funds would be used for the retrofitting of vacated space for more classrooms that are going to support new programs such as agri-business.”
The Student Success Center will bring all the services students need like enrollment, admissions, advisement, financial aid and course registration into one place. It’ll be constructed adjacent to the Conable Technology Building and a second-story bridge will connect the two. The cost for that building is $5 million dollars; $2,593,350 of the state matching funds will go to that project.
The College and Community Event Center will be more of a public space, the college says, by accommodating events, conferences and sports. The 43,000 square foot facility is estimated at $14 million, $6,924,150 coming from the state funding. The college says as many as 50,000 visitors will be able to utilize the facility yearly.
Another $575,303 from the funding will go to improving vacant space for programs. That portion of the project, Sunser says, is an effort to align the college’s offerings with what gets students hired locally.
“We will be looking at the opportunity to add new academic programs that are going to support a lot of different projects including the STAMP Project that we’ve also been partnering with the County Economic Development Center on,” he said.
Local state senator Michael Ranzenhofer requested the funding be added to the budget and says the improvements made possible by it will benefit the community and future students.
“Right now it’s certainly a focal point for the community and this really just improves and enhances Genesee Community College’s ability to attract students, to give them the education and skills and technical know-how they need to obtain jobs and compete in the 21st Century,” Ranzenhofer said.
With the state funding approved, the remaining costs will be covered by Genesee County and other donors. The funding is part of $81 million in matching grants in the state budget for strategic initiative projects at community colleges across the state.
“We have a long tradition of being innovative and we have a long tradition of a lot of interested parties that support us and help put us at the forefront,” Sunser said.
For GCC, Sunser says the completion of these projects is a crucial project as it sets itself apart.
“It really is transformative for the college and it’s going to set the college in a very strong position for the next decades.”