GCC says it’s committed to Orleans, GLOW region

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – James Sunser, president of Genesee Community College, addresses the Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday. There are nearly 1,000 GCC students from Orleans County currently enrolled in courses.

ALBION – Genesee Community College is adding new courses that better fit employment needs in the community and the college will also build two new structures to improve services for students, GCC President James Sunser told Orleans County officials this week.

He provided some data on GCC’s reach into Orleans County. The college has 959 students from Orleans, including 164 at the Albion campus center and another 100 at the Medina center. There are 427 high school students in Orleans County taking GCC classes.

The college has a $169.1 million economic impact in the four-county GLOW region, including $25.6 million in Orleans County, Sunser said at Wednesday’s County Legislature meeting.

This spring GCC expects to start site work on two new buildings at the main campus in Batavia. The college is also working to create a scholarship endowment for students in Orleans County.

“There’s a lot going on,” Sunser said. “It’s a very exciting time.”

Renderings courtesy of GCC – The proposed Student Success Center would provide a one-stop destination for students and first-time visitors to GCC, and “second-career” students.

The two new buildings will cost about $20 million to build with the state contributing $10 million and Genesee County $7 million. The GCC Foundation has raised $4 million towards a $5 million goal that includes the capitol projects and scholarships.

The building projects include a 9,000-square-foot “Student Success Center” and 43,000-square-foot “College and Community Event Center.”

The Student Success Center will include student support services to boost student achievement and retention, Sunser said. 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.

The College and Community Event Center will include a field house that will be available for conferences and trade shows.

The new “College and Community Event Center” will be next to the college’s athletic fields. The building would include classrooms, coaching facilities, food service facilities as well as 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.

Sunser said the Orleans County community is welcome to help with the fund-raising towards the capitol projects and scholarships. There will be a kickoff campaign for Orleans County from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 at The Village Inn, 14369 Ridge Rd. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, call 343-0055 x 6244 or email pabrown@genesee.edu.

Sunser noted the college has developed several new degree programs in response to business needs in the community. About 25 students graduate each year in the vet tech program and they have a high placement rate, he said.

Other new degrees include programs in food processing, agri-business, heath sciences, STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) initiatives, expanded tourism and hospitality, and enhanced mathematics.

GCC and Erie Community College are partnering on a new degree with nanotechnology.