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Voice your opinion re: ECC’s proposed $30 million expansion of its North Campus

Mark your calendars, the Common Council hosts a public hearing tomorrow, Tuesday at 1pm in Common Council chambers (13th floor City Hall) regarding ECC’s plans to expand its North Campus in Amherst. You are invited to attend the meeting and express your opinion. Following are details from Young Citizens for ECC:

The Buffalo Common Council will host a public hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, 1:00, at the Council chambers on Erie Community College’s proposed $30 million expansion of its North Campus in Amherst.

Citizens are invited to express their views on the question: where is it best for ECC to expand? The North Campus or the City Campus?

Young Citizens for ECC, an advocacy group for Erie Community College, intends to deliver a message to County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz that the expansion should occur at the City Campus, where the college can tap into emerging opportunities at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Bernice Radle and Greg Conley, co-chairs of Young Citizens for ECC, pointed out recently that 47% of ECC students live in the City of Buffalo, yet the City Campus is still the smallest of ECC’s three campuses and, due to its limited programs, serves only 25% of ECC’s students.

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, more than 50% of health sciences workers in the United States are trained at community colleges, yet so far ECC is playing no direct role in the development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“ECC’s health sciences programs belong near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where access to internships, job opportunities, and public transit are abundant, not eight miles away on Youngs Road,” says Radle.

The expansion debate at Erie Community College has been raging for more than two years, and is now coming to a head as County Executive Poloncarz weighs the results of a consultant study that recommends expanding the North Campus in Amherst at the expense of the City Campus in downtown Buffalo. Conley says the study is flawed.

“Poloncarz recently released an ECC study that states that land acquisition would be necessary for expansion of the City Campus,” says Conley. “This simply is not so.”

Conley points out that 100 N. Division St., a 1.3-acre, 178-space surface parking lot, was purchased in 2002 by Erie County for $3.1 million to facilitate City Campus expansion, and is perfectly suited for ECC’s proposed facility.

“ECC’s expansion is an opportunity to shift its health sciences programs to the City Campus, where the college can leverage investments in UB’s new Medical School, bolster the region’s fastest-growing job sector, and better advance its stated mission of providing access to all,” says Conley.

Be there tomorrow (Tuesday at 1:00) at the Common Council public hearing to express your views.

RESOLUTION

Sponsors: North District Councilmember Joseph Golombek, Jr.

Date: July 9, 2013

Subject: Call for the Construction of ECC’s Proposed Health Sciences Facility at the City Campus

Whereas: County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has endorsed a $30 million proposal to expand Erie Community College (ECC)’s North Campus in Amherst; and,

Whereas: In spite of the fact that 47% of ECC students live in the City of Buffalo, the City Campus is still the smallest of ECC’s three-campus system and, due to its limited programs, serves only 25% of ECC’s students; and,

Whereas: ECC’s expansion is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shift ECC’s health sciences programs to the City Campus, steps away from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; and,

Whereas: Such a shift which would allow Erie Community College to leverage SUNY’s investments in a new Medical School, boost the region’s fastest growing job sector, and better advance the college’s mission of “providing access to all”; and,

Whereas: The American Association of Community Colleges reports that more than 50% of health sciences workers in the United States are trained at community colleges, yet ECC is not yet playing any direct role in the development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; and,

Whereas: The majority of programs slated for ECC’s proposed expansion are in health-related fields that belong near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where access to jobs, internships, and public transit are abundant, not eight miles away on Youngs Rd.; and,

Whereas: The ECC Program Needs Analysis and Space Utilization Assessment (2013), recently released by the Poloncarz administration, incorrectly states that land acquisition would be necessary for expansion of the City Campus; and,

Whereas: 100 N. Division St., a 1.3-acre, 178-space surface parking lot, was purchased in 2002 by Erie County for $3.1 million to facilitate City Campus expansion, and is perfectly suited for ECC’s proposed health sciences facility; and,

Whereas: A crisis in Buffalo’s public school student achievement, as well as the disproportionate poverty and unemployment of youth in Buffalo compared to the region as a whole, highlight more than ever the need for the State of New York, Erie County, and the State University of New York’s community college system to focus resources and attention where the need is greatest; and,

Therefore, Be It Resolved: That the Common Council calls for the construction of ECC’s proposed health sciences facility at the City Campus

Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council calls on County Executive Poloncarz and ECC’s Board of Trustees to give strong consideration to locating such a facility at 100 N. Division St., to both maximize returns on investment to County taxpayers who paid for the site, and to take advantage of the most obvious expansion opportunity adjacent to the City Campus.

Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council invites the ECC Board of Trustees to consider other downtown sites, such as the City-owned parcel at 201 Ellicott St., for the kind of expansion that will ensure the City Campus becomes the flagship, rather than the smallest, of ECC’s three campuses.

Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council calls upon Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Western New York delegation of the New York State Senate and Assembly to shift the State’s $15 million share for ECC’s expansion to the City Campus, where both the need and the return on investment are greatest.

Be It Further Resolved: That the Common Council requests this resolution be forwarded to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, every member of the New York State Senate and Assembly, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, every member of the Erie County Legislature, ECC President Jack Quinn, and the ECC Board of Trustees.

Joseph Golombek, Jr.

North District Councilmember

ECC-works-BRO

Written by David Steele

David Steele

Architect ( a real one, not just the armchair type), author of "Buffalo, Architecture in the American Forgotten Land" ( www.blurb.com ), lover of great spaces, hater of sprawl and waste,
advocate for a better way of doing things.

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