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Groundbreaking Ceremony for GCC’s Two New Facilities

April 26, 2016

BATAVIA, NY – If there is a better way to kick off a 50th Anniversary than by breaking ground for two new campus facilities, the students, staff and administrators from Genesee Community College would like to know. Officials from the College, state and local government, as well as students and community supporters will gather on Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 4 p.m. for a dual event: breaking ground for the construction of the new Student Success Center and Event Center, and recognizing the beginning of an 18-month celebration honoring GCC’s 50th Anniversary.

The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested by contacting Patty Hume at pahume@genesee.edu or calling 585-343-0055 ext. 6234.

The two new buildings being built at the Batavia Campus are an integral part of GCC’s Facilities Master Plan that was approved by the College Trustees after a multi-year design and development process led, in part, by JMZ Architects and Planners, P.C. The transformational project is being supported by New York State, Genesee County, the College’s sponsor, and by local citizens through the GCC Foundation “Creating Our Future Together Campaign” which to date has amassed $5.4 million through 507 gifts. The overall cost of the project, including the two new buildings as well as related improvements to the Batavia campus is $24.65 million.

The 18,478 square foot Student Success Center will be a two-story facility connecting to the existing Conable Technology Building through a second story bridge. It will become the new “front door” of the Batavia Campus partially enclosing the College’s central academic quad. The one-stop service center will feature new success coaches for incoming students who will provide each new GCC student with a single point of contact from his or her first day on campus all the way through commencement. The Student Success Center brings the admissions, financial aid, academic advisement, job and career counseling and a variety of other student services into one building. The estimated cost of construction of the Student Success Center is $6.1 million.

The other project, the Event Center, will also be two stories, but it is the first facility at the Batavia Campus not connected to the main buildings. (The College’s School of Nursing is located across the street in the Med Tech Park on the south side of Hawley Drive.) Located adjacent to the Soccer and Lacrosse Turf Field at the far west side of campus, the 56,614 square foot facility will include the largest open public space in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming Counties. The large arena will not only accommodate an array of athletic competitions, but all kinds of civic, community, trade, industry as well as college events—from regional and even state-wide farm, boat and tractor shows to commencement ceremonies where a whole family can sit together. The new facility is expected to draw as many as 500,000 visitors to the campus each year. The estimated cost of construction of the Event Center is $13.8 million.

Construction completion is targeted for next summer (2017).

If the founders of Genesee Community College had a crystal ball they would surely be impressed that their efforts in the mid-1960’s would one day encompass: a student population in excess of 6,800; thousands of employees of area business organizations and community residents enrolled in non-credit business and skill development programs; seven campus locations in four counties; more than 70 academic degrees and certificates; 24,000 alumni; 600 employees, and an annual economic impact last measured at $169 million three years ago.

“Constructing new buildings and reaching our 50th anniversary is exciting, there’s no doubt,” GCC President James Sunser, Ed.D. said. “But what is most important is that our vision today, to be a student-centered college that promotes intellectual and social growth, and empowers individuals to meet the demands of a changing world continues the legacy that started 50 years ago. We really are carrying the early vision of our founders forward, and preparing GCC for the students in the next 50 years.”

Craig Yunker, the chair of the “Creating Our Future Together” fundraising campaign which helped to finance the new buildings, was a teenager when his parents were active members of the Citizens Committee that spearheaded the grassroots effort to convince Genesee County Board of Supervisors that the community needed a college. These efforts succeeded in November 1965 when local voters approved the creation of Genesee Community College in a public referendum.

“I respected and admired my parents for their commitment to the cause, and I never imagined that I would be called upon 50 years later to help launch Genesee Community College in exciting new directions,” Yunker said. “Through the years, many people have contributed to the success of GCC which continues today.”

For further information, please contact Donna Rae Sutherland, associate director of Marketing Communications at 585-343-0055 ext. 6616 or email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.