The pressure is mounting on ECC officials to reconsider building a new $30 million facility on the North Campus and instead expand downtown. Senator Mark Grisanti and Assemblyman Sam Hoyt wrote to ECC President Jack Quinn on Thursday urging the college to not only keep "health and science programming on or near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus" but also suggest that ECC consolidate it campuses. While not advocating one central campus, the elected officials want to begin a discussion "about whether the current number of campuses is sustainable."
From the June 9 letter:
Given the current condition of the North Campus, which is in a state of disrepair and has not received any meaningful capital improvements since the 1960s, according to your account, I think now is the appropriate time to discuss whether it might be in the best interest of Erie Community College and its students to eliminate one of the suburban campuses. Rather than building a brand new facility, which does not address the problems of the existing building adjacent to it, ECC would be able to consolidate resources and focus them on something truly state of the art. We are not insensitive to the concerns about the cost of chargebacks to Erie County taxpayers, but we are confident that creating a world-class downtown ECC campus, with its proximity to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, plus one auxiliary suburban campus will improve its competitiveness.
Rather than continuing to have three campuses, at least one of which already requires substantial capital improvements to reach reasonable community college standards, we believe that the students of ECC would be much better served by two truly high quality campuses. A Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) for the Erie Community College Facilities Master Plan prepared in 2004 by BHNT Architects and the Saratoga Associates at the request of the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning and the ECC Board of Trustees supports this idea. The research presented in the DGEIS suggests that the costs of maintaining three separate campuses far outweigh the benefits.
The letter concludes:
We strongly urge you and your board to reconsider your plans to build a major new building on the north campus but rather consider building it between your downtown campus and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Rocco Termini has floated a plan for ECC to anchor a redeveloped AM&As Department Store. His idea was brushed aside by Quinn in a recent meeting according to several sources. Donn Esmonde talks about the AM&As/ECC proposal in his column today. Are Quinn and Collins listening? They had been looking to Albany to fund half the cost of the new ECC North building. Grisanti and Hoyt have better ideas.