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North Country Community College planning expansions

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MALONE — North Country Community College is planning several expansions for its three campuses, moves that officials said they believe will help create more than $11 million in economic development.

Steven J. Tyrell, president of the college, and William Chapin, the college’s vice president for fiscal operations/chief financial officer, met with Franklin County legislators Thursday to discuss key points of the college’s 2013-14 budget as well as go through economic development plans that college officials feel will benefit the communities in which it has campuses: Malone, Saranac Lake and Ticonderoga.

“I think we all realize the tremendous benefit North Country Community College is for our county,” said Legislator Gordon A. Crossman, D-Malone.

For the Malone campus, Mr. Tyrell said, the college hopes to have housing downtown for 120 students. He said there are buildings in Malone that could be rehabilitated for that purpose.

“There’s just great property in downtown Malone,” he said.

NCCC also is considering a new agricultural technology program, according to Mr. Tyrell.

Through the new initiatives, he said, the projected economic impact for the Malone area is just over $1.5 million.

The projects in Malone fit in with the NCCC’s “college town” concept, which extends to Saranac Lake and Ticonderoga.

NCCC also plans to add housing in downtown Ticonderoga.

In Saranac Lake, the college hopes to receive $10 million in funding through the SUNY 2020 grant program, which was put into place by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in August 2011 to encourage growth of SUNY campuses and the communities in which they are located. If awarded the funding, a biotechnology program would be launched at the Saranac Lake campus, which would create 12 new faculty positions at $50,000 each and admit 200 students, according to a chart presented by Mr. Tyrell.

Projects are set to be completed within the next three years, Mr. Tyrell said, and are set to add a total of $11,039,000 in economic development — $7,201,000 specifically in Franklin County.

Academically, Mr. Tyrell said, the college is hoping to expand its nursing opportunities.

“Our enrollment is really driven by how much clinical we can get in the door,” he told legislators, explaining that between community colleges and others, local hospitals and medical centers fill up quickly with nursing students. “There’s a demand for it.”

Mr. Tyrell said NCCC is considering offering a nursing program on evenings and weekends.

“The potential is huge,” Legislator Marc “Tim” Lashomb, R-Malone, said following Mr. Tyrell’s presentation.

NCCC’s proposed budget is $14,625,300, with the two counties in which the college has campuses — Franklin and Essex — contributing $1,140,000 each, according to the budget executive summary. It notes that this is the same as the prior school year.

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