Fulton County officials review FM plan

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday received its first look at Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s proposed $13.3 million master plan – a major upgrade of technology and campus improvements planned through 2018.

“It’s important we estimate the costs so we have a sense of where we’re going in the future and how we get there,” said FMCC President Dustin Swanger.

Swanger previously briefed the board’s Capital Projects Committee on the master plan but did so for the first time Monday before the entire board at the County Office Building.

The board took no action, but Swanger noted costs for projects are 50 percent from the state and 50 percent local. The 50 percent local share includes funding from the sponsoring counties, the FMCC Foundation and revenue from student housing.

Swanger first outlined about $20 million in work done at FMCC the past seven years. Those improvements have included the clean room, advanced manufacturing lab, upgrade to the communications lab-TV studio, radiology lab and upgrades to the college gym and athletic fields. Other repairs to infrastructure have included to heating-ventilation-air conditioning, clock tower, emergency notification system, installation of security cameras and addition of student housing.

“The people and the services on our campus are much more welcoming,” Swanger said.

Major priorities in the master plan include upgrades to the science labs, bathrooms, technology, physical education air conditioning and locker rooms. He said the technology FMCC utilizes, in many cases, is at least 10 years old.

“We need to upgrade the science labs,” Swanger said.

He said those labs are from 1965, and he also expressed a need to gut and redo bathrooms on campus. The lecture halls on campus also need a makeover, Swanger said. Much site work also is planned, such as sidewalks, signage and lighting. The college needs a master key system and to renovate its college store for more space, he said. The lighting at FMCC needs to be brightened up, he said.

“Lighting on the campus was designed in the 1960s, when you did mood lighting on campus,” Swanger said.

He said the plan also involves making the campus more accessible to the public.

“We need more space for meetings, places for the community to be,” Swanger said.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the Capital Projects Committee will review the first stage of the master plan in the next two months.

Swanger said he thinks the state will continue to fund FMCC projects. He said the state in the past has “met all its capital requirements.”

“I think it might get a little tough for awhile,” he stated. “But I don’t think it’s going to be impossible.”

Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. told Swanger that FMCC might eventually want to look at using the auditorium and pool at the former Tryon campus. The state still owns the 515-acre facility that lies in the towns of Perth and Johnstown, but Fulton County is looking to create a new technology park there. The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency is seeking the title for the campus from the state.

Swanger said he, IDA Executive Director James Mraz and Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Patrick Michel have met about potentially using the old Tryon campus.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.