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Letter: Throw plans to expand ECC North in the trash

Throw plans to expand ECC North in the trash

Why are we going to allow Erie Community College to spend $30 million for an unnecessary two-story building in Amherst that is half the size of a big-box store?

Let’s look at the numbers and facts. ECC’s student population has declined 21 percent since 2012. All STEM-related programs should be located downtown near the Medical Campus to ensure the best connection between students and jobs. About 47 percent of the ECC population lives in the City of Buffalo, yet the City Campus serves only 25 percent of the entire student body, placing an extreme time and resource burden on students who are desperately trying to get an education to better their lives.

When will ECC learn from its mistakes and listen to the needs of its students and the region? ECC will continue to fail if it does not adapt to current trends in the market, including better programs that work for today’s economy and workforce, consolidated programming that avoids busing and driving all over the region and, most importantly, a downtown campus strong enough to serve and attract more of the city-loving millennials who will do anything to avoid more student debt.

Building a stronger downtown campus means that ECC could be a stellar partner of the Medical Campus and innovation center to fill the demands for entrepreneurship, tech, medical degrees, etc. Many of these jobs require only a two-year degree.

ECC could easily tap into our growing downtown culinary scene, our strong financial sector and our beloved theater and cultural centers to provide internships, networking opportunities and more to its students. But instead ECC continues to silo its thinking and somehow believes that a new suburban box is the answer to all its problems.

Bernice Radle