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GREEN LIGHT FLASHES FOR EXPANSION OF JCC CAMPUS

Acquisition of 32 properties needed to double the size of Jamestown Community College's North Union Street campus can get under way in the next 30 days.

JCC President Gregory DeCinque said Thursday that college officials were thrilled when the legislature voted 18-2 Wednesday for a self-financing bond of $7.1 million plus a $1 million contribution from surplus money. The total expansion cost is $31 million.

"It was wonderful to see the Legislature support us. The new campus will be good not only for Cattaraugus County but for the college and for the whole region," DeCinque said.

The expansion, to be completed by fall 2002, will add an undetermined number of staff positions and about 225 full-time-equivalent students to the current population of 1,100 full- and part-time students, said Olean Campus Interim Dean John Bartimole.

DeCinque said tentative plans call for construction of 112,000 square feet of space in two new buildings and the addition of about 15,000 square feet to existing structures. Twenty-six homes and six commercial buildings must now be bought by Park Centre Development of Olean, which won a $2,779,000 contract bid in December.

The company will also be paid $414,968 by JCC to demolish the buildings on North Union, Jay, North Clinton and North Barry streets.

Among the commercial properties to be demolished are the former Central Hotel and Blumenthal's on North Union, and a funeral home, a former Chinese restaurant and a structure occupied by the Olean Teachers Federal Credit Union.

Nelson Garifi, JCC's community relations director in Jamestown, said on Thursday that discussions are still under way with owners of some of the commercial properties to be acquired.

"We're going to be working closely with the city, and it's important to note that we will be sensitive to any problems that we've created for people as this transition takes place. There appears to be enough other available housing and storefronts to accommodate the needs of those who will be dislocated," DeCinque said, adding that JCC will try to avoid disruptions.

Louis A. Magnano, Park Centre's president and CEO, said all property appraisals have been completed, and his contract specifies that the job must be finished within six months.

"It'll be fast. We'll have to go out to bid (for the demolition work)," he said Thursday from Atlanta.

DeCinque said Habiterra Associates is completing architectural designs for the new campus and a needs assessment is being conducted to determine which new instructional programs can be offered.

Some of the possibilities being considered are engineering courses to assist local industries, a series of courses leading to an information technology degree, an honors program, health-related courses and hospitality management.

In addition to the Legislature's contribution to the project's total cost, about $15.5 million has been promised from the New York State SUNY Construction Fund. Another $4 million to $5 million has been set aside by JCC, and the balance will come from grants and philanthropic sources.

The Olean campus first opened in 1976 on Homer Street and moved to its current location in 1984.

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