Erie Community College officials are determined to build a $30 million academic building on its North Campus in Amherst. Governor Cuomo's proposed 2012-13 budget allocates $15 million in funding for the 110,000 sq.ft. building. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz is supporting a county match of $7.5 million as previously proposed by former Executive Chris Collins. The college and its foundation are expecting to raise another $7.5 towards the capital project.
When first announced, the plan was to house health sciences programs in the new structure. That set off howls of protest from city officials and others calling the move shortsighted and questioning why health science programs weren't located at the City Campus or Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. With good reason.
ECC officials are now saying the new structure would be an "academic building" and the exact programs to be housed are yet to be determined. No matter, the Buffalo Common Council earlier this month went on record supporting building near the City Campus where consolidation of the community college's three campuses has been tossed around for over a decade.
ECC may not even need to build if it can be convinced to expand downtown. A building may be available soon. Last week, Sheehan Health Network announced it is closing its facility at Michigan Avenue and Clinton Street for financial reasons. The five-story building opened in 1979 and has 111,000 sq.ft. of space. It's located just three blocks from the City Campus. Sheehan also has coveted parking and plenty of room for expansion. The property is 8.6 acres, four blocks east of Lafayette Square.