GCC pushing for student success

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 February 2016 at 12:00 am

Construction starts in April on new buildings at Batavia campus

Photo by Tom Rivers – Dr. James Sunser, president of Genesee Community College, addresses the Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday. He is pictured with renderings of two new buildings that will be constructed at the Batavia campus beginning in April.

ALBION – Orleans County residents can receive a quality college education at a fraction of the cost of a university, and stay close to home, Dr. James Sunser, president of Genesee Community College.

He addressed the Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday, and shared plans for two new buildings at the Batavia campus that are focused on ensuring student success and enriching their college experience. The college also has new degree programs in nanotechnology to train a workforce for the STAMP site in the Town of Alabama and other high-tech sites in the region.

Sunser said there has been a “sea change” in colleges in working to help students be successful in the classroom, adjust to college life and connect to a successful career.

The college on March 8 will open bids for two new buildings will cost about $20 million to build. The state is contributing $10 million, Genesee County $7 million and the GCC Foundation has raised $5 million toward the capitol projects as well as scholarships.

One new building will be a 9,000-square-foot “Student Success Center.” The Student Success Center will include student support services to boost student achievement and retention. The vacated space for some of these services at the William W. Stuart Forum will be renovated for classrooms.

The Student Success Center will also help alumni with job placements and to look at job retraining possibilities.

A 43,000-square-foot “College and Community Event Center” will be next to the college’s athletic fields. The building would include classrooms, coaching facilities, food service facilities and a wellness center. The building would have public floor space that could be used for student gatherings, trade shows, community exhibitions, athletic competitions and charitable events.

The capital projects are the largest in GCC’s nearly 50-year history, Sunser said. Ground-breaking will be in April and the buildings will be complete in 2017.

“When this is done I believe GCC will be a national model for how we interface with students and make them successful,” Sunser said.

There are 900 Orleans County residents who take classes at GCC, including nearly 400 at the campus centers in Albion and Medina.

Two GCC professors, Ed Grabowski and Pam Lusk, work in Orleans and have been nominated for Chancellor’s Awards, the highest recognition for a professor. Sunser said Lusk and Grabowski exemplify the dedication of GCC staff and faculty to students.

Lynne Johnson, Orleans County Legislature vice chairwoman, praised the college’s push for excellence.

“I know Orleans County is proud to be a partner county with your education system,” Johnson said.