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County moves ahead with dorm project

The three board members already named are Bernard Mericle and Christine Chiaravalle, members of the Schenectady County Industrial Development Agency, and Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors.

The dormitory would be located on a county-owned parcel of land on Washington Avenue in the City of Schenectady.

Legislators and college officials have said the dormitories will help increase enrollment and attract more students from out of the area to the college, which offers unique programs in music, culinary arts and aviation.

"I know the housing will have an impact," said SCCC President Gabriel Basil.

"Look at that [student housing] as an investment with a real return," said Michael Karl, vice chairman of the college's board of trustees.

In other business, the Legislature adopted the college's operational budget of $22 million with a county contribution of $1.9 million.

The county increased its contribution by $80,000, although the college initially requested a $120,000 increase in the county contribution.

Although several legislators agreed with Niskayuna resident Elmer Bertsch

that the county's contribution is not adequate, they said with tough economic times it is all they can afford. Legislators said in the future they hope to contribute closer to one-third of college's operating cost.

According to Hughes, community colleges should be funded in thirds through tuition, the sponsor, which is the county, and the state.

DiCerbo said the community colleges were never intended to be revenue generating as one resident suggested, but he is disappointed by the county's contribution to the college.

"The county has continually underfunded the college," he said.

Basil said he understands the county's fiscal difficulties, but appreciates their continued support of the college.

He said the assistance from the county for the culinary arts wing and music program have proven a worthy investment.

"Those cooperative efforts have led to increased enrollment," Basil said.

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