Global Village could receive federal boost

JOHNSTOWN – FMCC’s Global Village project is progressing and receiving new support from a high-ranking federal official.

Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger gave a report to the college’s Board of Trustees Thursday, detailing new developments for the project. Swanger told the board U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, has informed the college the Global Village has become one of the top projects for her in the state.

The Global Village – which will cost about $12 million to develop – is aimed at addressing FMCC’s need for more campus housing. The project is also expected to spur economic development and meet the social and cultural needs of the college’s student community.

Swanger said approximately 16,700 square feet of retail and restaurant space in the Global Village will be aimed at the college and contemporary crowd with a cafe, boutique-style shops and possibly an art gallery.

The space added for housing is expected to be about 45,295 square feet, adding about 124 beds. Officials said about 100 beds will go to the student population while the remaining beds will be available for the general public.

Swanger said he recently made a visit to Washington D.C. where he spoke to federal officials about the needs of the college and presented the idea of the college town.

“They got exceedingly excited,” Swanger said about the officials reaction to the Global Village. “When I returned that weekend I got an e-mail from Sen. Gillibrand’s Office which said I need to let them know of anything we need because this has become one of the senator’s top projects in the state.”

Swanger said Gillibrand could provide federal assistance in building infrastructure such as utilities and roadways.

Swanger told the board a private developer for the Global Village is expected to be named in about a month. He said he’s been speaking with a variety of developers about the college town concept in an effort to figure out who the college will ultimately work with on the project.

“That process continues and I hope within the next 30 days we will be able to make that decision on who we want to partner with as we move that effort forward,” Swanger said.

Trustee Christopher Swatt asked Swanger if the college has a favorite developer at the moment. Swanger said there is a favorite, but he wouldn’t disclose the private developer’s name during the meeting.

Swanger said it’s likely within the coming month the college will partner with a firm to start actively designing the project.

“That’s the likely way we’ll [do it],” he said. “It would relinquish some control from us, but it also makes the project more feasible.”

He said the college hopes the village will be ready for business in September 2016, if things go according to plan.

“You either open in September or you don’t,” Swanger said about the need to have the project ready in time for students.

He estimated the construction process would take about 18 months to complete.

According to college officials, the Global Village will be constructed and controlled by the Foundation of FMCC and the Fulmont College Association.

The FM Foundation previously acquired about 145 acres across Bendicks Corner Road from the college. The land is split by four different municipalities, although this development is only connected to the town of Amsterdam. The plan is to build an entrance to the Global Village off Bendick Corners Road to avoid traffic on Route 67.

Swanger said neither Fulton nor Montgomery counties will have to provide any money for the project.

The second phase of the project would include a new fieldhouse on the current college campus.

The third phase would feature a housing complex for senior citizens and would be located closer to Sacandaga Road. There are no estimated costs yet for those projects.