FULTON, NY – Cayuga Community College hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting Friday afternoon to celebrate the completion of construction at its new Fulton Campus at River Glen, 11 River Glen Drive, Fulton.
Nearly a dozen speakers praised the multi-million dollar project, thanked those who made it possible and extolled its benefits for the local economy and future generations of students.
Of all of them, Oswego County Legislator (District 21) Terry Wilbur put it in simply, yet elegantly.
The 2008 graduate gestured toward the new education center behind him and told the large crowd assembled under a tent in the school’s parking lot, Wow!”
Dr. Daniel P. Larson, President, Cayuga Community College, welcomed the crowd. “This is our fourth, final and permanent home in Oswego County,” he said to a round applause.”
They started offering nursing courses in 1979 in Mexico; then in 1994 in their first campus in two rented classrooms in the Fulton Education Center and then within the following year they moved to the former Holy Family School building and stayed there until 2001 when they moved into their leased campus on West Broadway.
The ceremony marks the completion of the nine-month, $16.1 million construction of the 82,150 square-foot campus in the former P&C grocery store, Dr. Larson said.
In late August, the campus opened its doors to 1,100 students who are currently enrolled at the Fulton site.
“I really had no idea of the expanse of the project and the dream that can be fulfilled over time,” said Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York.
She said this has been the leadership and the vision and the dream of President Dan Larson and “We are very fortunate to have him in our system!”
She praised everyone in both Cayuga and Oswego counties for working so well together on the project.
“This is a perfect, perfect, perfect example of what a partnership can do,” she said. “I came all this way to say to all of you, congratulations!”
Even when he went on to SUNY Oswego to further his education, Wilbur said he thought back to what he’d learned at Cayuga Community College and what a great college it is and how the faculty and staff are just so warm and welcoming.
“My two years at Cayuga changed my life,” he said. “The one institution that I can give a lot of credit to is Cayuga Community College.”
Following the formal ribbon-cutting, guests toured the new facility and enjoyed light refreshments, provided courtesy of the College Foundation.
Among the other invited speakers were:
Assemblyman Will Barclay
Mr. John Camardo ’84, Chairman, College Board of Trustees
Mr. David Contiguglia, Vice President, College Foundation
Ms. Maggie Killoran, Associate Vice President and Dean, Fulton Campus
Mr. Timothy Lattimore ’71, Deputy Chair, Cayuga County Legislature
Mr. Ronald Woodward, Mayor, City of Fulton
Ms. Karin Green, Principal, JMZ Architects and Planners
Mr. Kyle Tuttle, Senior Vice President, LPCiminelli
Matt Driscoll, on behalf of the governor.
For more than 30 years, Cayuga Community College has offered coursework in Oswego County, beginning with nursing courses in 1979 at the Mexico BOCES. In 1994, the college began offering liberal arts classes in rented classrooms in downtown Fulton. In 2001, the college moved into 50,000 square feet in the Fulton Commons mall on Broadway to educate the 500 students then enrolled.
In fewer than 10 years, student enrollment at the Fulton Campus more than doubled, reaching a total of 1,256 students in 2010. During weekday peak times, classroom utilization was at 100 percent, and fell just to 85 to 90 percent during the slow times. It was clear that the Fulton Campus needed more space. After a year of investigating possible sites, the College chose the former P&C building in the River Glen Plaza. This site adjoined an additional 28,690 square feet of storefront space immediately available for rental, and fit the criteria the college was seeking in its fourth and final move for the Fulton Campus—enough space to meet the current and future needs of the campus community.
Fourth and Final Home
In spring 2011, the college, through its local sponsor Cayuga County, purchased the P&C property as well as 45 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the River Glen Plaza. A few months later, the College Foundation formed the CCCF River Glen Holdings, the non-profit subsidiary, to purchase the major portion of the River Glen property in Fulton. The foundation invested $9.4 million to become the owner of the 25-acres plaza and the 124,000 square feet of storefronts. In December 2011, the college kicked off construction on the 82,150 square feet of space in the former P&C building.
The Faculty-Student Association selected Barnes & Noble to provide bookstore services for the college, and Barnes & Noble developed a vacant storefront as the new bookstore for Fulton students. One advantage of working with Barnes & Noble is the ability for our students to have internships at the store and to attend its manager training programs. The FSA is looking into food service providers for the Fulton Campus. In the meantime, the bookstore features a Starbucks café and the student lounge provides vending machine snacks.
Vision for the Future
The new home for the Fulton Campus provides the potential to meet our future needs. Until then, two businesses will remain in the plaza and provide useful resources for our campus community. Kmart is committed to its lease through 2018, with an option to renew. In January 2012, the Dollar Tree renewed its lease through February 2014. For now, the college will expand into the vacant storefronts as able.
The long-term vision is to convert the entire site into a collegiate campus, with a green quadrangle, trees, and informal outside spaces. The adjoining 45 acres could become athletic fields, student housing, or additional buildings. This new space will be the permanent home for our Fulton Campus, and an anchor institution for Oswego County. Our doors are open to the entire community.