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Bond issue sought to fund housing

The Niagara County Community College student housing project is to be funded entirely from a bond issue to be authorized by the county Industrial Development Agency.

The IDA Project Review Committee last week accepted an application from the nonprofit corporation that NCCC set up to carry out the housing plan.

It seeks bonding authority worth up to $20 million to fund construction of the college's first on-campus housing.

The bonds, if approved by the IDA and the County Legislature, would pay interest that would be exempt from income taxes for the investors who would be expected to buy them.

Bassam Deeb, NCCC's vice president of student services and executive director of the Student Housing Village Corp., said other local two-year colleges, including Erie Community and Jamestown Community, are examining on-campus housing. He said NCCC needs to join them in offering "a full-service experience."

Jeffrey R. Smetana, executive vice president of United Development Group, said the first phase of the housing project would be a three-story building with 250 to 300 beds.

The second phase would consist of two matching buildings on either side of the first one, each three or four stories and containing 180 to 240 beds.

United Development, a Troy company, was hired by the housing corporation to develop the project.

Smetana said the apartments will house four students, each with a private bedroom. There will be two bathrooms, a common living room and a kitchen. Each apartment building will offer laundry rooms and some study lounges.

If the funding is approved, Smetana said, construction will start this summer with the goal of admitting students for the fall semester in 2008.

The full IDA board is expected to vote Thursday to schedule a public hearing sometime early next month. Final IDA action is expected at its May 17 meeting.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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