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A major in biochemistry may be offered next fall, as the Fredonia State College Council Wednesday voted to submit the program to the State University of New York central office for approval.

"The program would blend both strong biology and chemistry programs. The college has the faculty and physical resources to do it," President Dennis Hefner said at Wednesday afternoon's Council meeting.

Council Member Michael Sullivan asked if the program would be coordinated with the needs of local industry.

Hefner said an advisory committee would be formed that would include local industry. The college also is looking at local industries to provide internships for the program. The amount of research needed for the degree may depend on the number of students in the program, according to David S. Koetje, assistant professor of biology, who presented the proposal to the Council.

In other action, the Council voted to support the college's effort to secure final approval for a contract with York Research for deregulated electricity.

Tracy Bennett, interim vice-president for administration, told the Council utilities are the second costliest item in the budget after salaries -- $2.8 million in 1996, of which $1.6 million was for electricity.

The proposed four-year contract would provide estimated savings of between $800,000 to $1.2 million, depending on the voltage at which the college receives the electricity. The power would come over Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. lines to the college substation, Bennett said. If necessary, a new substation could be constructed on campus.

Electricity is not yet deregulated in the state, and so state comptroller's office rejected a proposed contract that had been approved by SUNY and the attorney general's office, Bennett said.

The new proposal will be resubmitted to SUNY.

Harry Watters, director of residence life, told the Council the 13 residence halls have a capacity of 2,500 students and have occupancy of 2,105.

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