Cayuga Community College will ask for bids to see who can come up with the next home for its rapidly growing Fulton campus.
The college’s trustees Wednesday voted to issue a request for proposals to see whether anyone in Fulton has 80,000 to 100,000 square feet of space, adequate parking for a busy college campus and additional land for future expansion.
The college had planned on buying the former P&C grocery store in the River Glen Plaza, along with land south of the shopping center, to create its new campus. Those plans fell apart when the store was sold. College President Daniel Larson believes that the school’s current landlord had a hand in foiling their plans to move away, by somehow being involved in the purchase of the grocery store.
County records show that an entity called JHMPAC, Inc. bought the store on May 14, 2010 for $700,000.
The campus is moving anyway.
“A number of people have contacted my office saying they have space, they have land, they have buildings, they have this, they have that,” said Larson.
The school plans to stay in Fulton.
There’s an urgent need to do something. “The facility here is bustin’ at the seams,” said Peter Tortorici, chairman of the Cayuga County Legislature, who attended Wednesday’s meeting in Fulton.
Nearly 1,300 students attended classes in Fulton this past school year. That number was up 15% from the year before and posed a challenge to the school to fit everyone in. The college expects another strong increase in enrollment for next fall.
“It’s still very crowded,” said Maggie Killoran, who is the Dean in charge of the Fulton campus. “We’re elbow to elbow,” she told the trustees.
The college has coped with the space crunch by scheduling classes in the evenings or on Fridays, times which can be inconvenient for students. Some students take online courses from home.
Larson said the college may have to do something it has been trying to avoid — rent outside space or bring in modular buildings for classes or offices until a new facility can be built.
“It’s coming at us very quickly,” he said.