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Genesee Community College capital drive tops $5 million goal

BATAVIA – The Genesee Community College Foundation capital campaign has exceeded its goal of $5 million, paving the way for the construction of a Student Success Center and Event Center next spring.

Campaign Chairman Craig A. Yunker reported that the foundation has received contributions and pledges from businesses and individuals totaling $5,214,213, and he expects that number to increase.

“When you put a very generous community together with a great cause, things like this can happen,” Yunker said.

Yunker, managing partner of CY Farms of Elba and owner of Batavia Turf Farms, said that 475 separate pledges have been made, several by large businesses and none bigger than the gift made by the Richard Call family.

“It was the commitment made by the Calls (in the $1 million range) that convinced me of the importance of this campaign,” he said. “That’s why I agreed to become the chair.”

About $3 million will be used toward the funding of the building projects on the College Road campus – the $5 million, 9,000-square-foot Student Success Center and the $15 million, 43,000-square-foot Event Center.

Genesee County has committed $9.3 million and New York State will provide $12 million to the project, which also included a multimillion-dollar renovation of the main building’s cafeteria this summer.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Monday afternoon to showcase the upgraded main café and increased dining options now available to GCC students, faculty and staff.

Final architectural designs for the Student Success Center and Event Center are expected by the end of the year, with groundbreaking set for next spring. Both of those buildings are scheduled to open in the spring of 2017, which coincides with the college’s 50th anniversary.

The foundation’s “Creating Our Future Together” campaign also raised money for new endowed scholarships for students living in communities served by the college’s six campus centers, Yunker said.

“The scholarship portion of the campaign is equally important,” Yunker said. “This project will transform the college. It’s not only about the two buildings.”