on March 20, 2013 - 1:15 AM
, updated March 20, 2013 at 6:24 AM
A new study due out in April will likely recommend that Erie Community College build new facilities at both its North and City campuses, ECC President Jack F. Quinn Jr. disclosed in an interview.
Quinn said there are signs that the study will encourage the college to pursue plans for a science, technology and manufacturing facility at its Amherst campus while also developing a facility for health-related programs at or near its campus downtown.
The interview is part of the weekly “In Focus” series.
Meyer: There are many folks who think that ECC should consolidate its three campuses in the downtown core where you have a major presence with the City Campus. Where are you now in that debate?
Quinn: It [was] a debate that raged about seven or eight years ago, actually before I came to the college. And it was settled then. Lots of studies ... It was decided then that geography is one of our best attributes. We need to be in the north and the south and, of course, in the city. We will never abandon any of those places ... We’re doing a comprehensive study with the county ... The study will be done in about two weeks.
We believe that’s going to say that we need to do something at the North Campus and something in the city. And we further think that what we might hear from this study is that some kind of a “STEM” building be constructed at the North Campus that deals with science, technology and manufacturing ... And then a second building in the city that might actually house our medical activities, our health-related [programs]. And that would answer [Ellicott Council Member Darius G.] Pridgen, who said he wants us to do everything that we do with health-related fields in the city or at [the former] Sheehan Hospital.
Meyer: Which is only a mile from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Quinn: And less than a mile from us. An interesting fact that a lot of people don’t know: we already have a lease with Sheehan Hospital, the predecessor here, for some parking for our students.
Meyer: So if , in fact, the study recommends [these projects] at City and North, who pays for it?
Quinn: In the case of the North building, we had thought about a $30 million project out there for a lot of SMART classrooms and up-to-date kind of technology ... We’re happy to report that we’ve got $26 million of the $30 million in the bank, between a state grant of $15 million, $7.5 million from the county and the college saving our pennies the last couple years ... If we built or occupied a place in the city, we need help paying for that. And our discussions have moved out to talking to representatives of the governor’s “billion for Buffalo.” We think it would be a wise use of money this close to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus where we’re going to do some education with not only medical training, but I hear from the manufacturers all the time: “Teach them the trade, but while you’re at it, Jack, teach them how to read and write.” So we’re the educators. We’re not the medical people. We are not the manufacturers. We do education and we do training. And we think we do it pretty well for $3,900 a year. And we think there’s a way for us to do this both at our North Campus and at our City Campus if we get a little bit of help.