Schenectady County Community College is hoping to purchase a piece of land behind the school it has been leasing for additional parking.
The idea is to buy it outright from the county and eventually use a vacant building on the site if needed.
The request was one of three in the college’s 2014 capital budget request to Schenectady County and the State University of New York, approved by the SCCC board of trustees last week. In all, SCCC is requesting nearly $3.13 million to purchase the land and an emergency generator and make mechanical upgrades to Elston Hall.
“Right now, we lease these parking spaces,” said SCCC board of trustees Chairwoman Denise Murphy McGraw, “but we have some 260 odd beds now with our student housing and we’re continuing to grow, so extra parking is attractive to us.”
The parking space is at the site of the old American Automobile Association, directly behind the college and next to the college’s new student housing. SCCC estimated the parcel would cost about $700,000 and is considering either tearing down the vacant building on the site to create more parking space or rehabbing it to fit any needs identified during the college’s master plan process.
SCCC is also asking for more than $1.08 million to install an emergency electrical generator system across campus that would help keep the power on in the event of a major storm. Such a system would have come in handy two years ago during Tropical Storm Irene, when the college had to delay the start of its fall semester because of a communitywide power outage. A small emergency generator allowed the college to turn power back on to part of the campus, but most of it was left in the dark.
“This issue really came to light then,” said McGraw. “A major part of our campus was out for four or five days. It set back our opening day of classes, and something like that could derail all of what we’re trying to do here. Some people who register for college, if something like that gets in their way, or classes don’t start in a week or two, they might say, 'Eh, I’ll wait until next semester.’ ”
In addition, SCCC hopes to receive more than $1.3 million to make needed mechanical upgrades to Elston Hall.
“We have only one elevator on campus that is pretty old,” said McGraw. “We want to replace it and do some other things like that around the building, which has older electrical wiring and stuff like that.”
The funding requests for the generator and mechanical upgrades are based on estimates. The college expects to bid those items out, said McGraw, and is requesting funding up to those amounts.