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Rome Campus History 2

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Rome Campus


EXCERPTS FROM HISTORY INCLUDED IN NOVEMBER 2005 STUDENT OF THE ROME CAMPUS PREPARED BY DEAN RONALD CANTOR IN CONSULTATION WITH SUNY SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION AT REQUEST OF MVCC TRUSTEES:

Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus, located at the intersection of Floyd Avenue and Bell Road in Rome, NY, grew out of a request from the U.S. Air Force to offer classes to military personnel. Classes were first held at Griffiss Air Force Base in 1954, the College’s eighth year of operation. Due to increasing demand from community members unaffiliated with the military, Rome classes were moved in 1958 to Staley Junior High School.

The Rome Chamber of Commerce became involved in 1965, when it created a Special Committee on Higher Education to encourage the growth of higher learning opportunities in Rome. Later, this group evolved into the Rome College Foundation, a separate fund-raising organization that has continued to support the Rome Campus through 2005.

The Rome College Foundation was instrumental in convincing the Air Force, in 1969, to make three barracks-style buildings at Griffiss available for College use. The Foundation also contributed funds toward refurbishing. The buildings were located near the Floyd Avenue gate to Griffiss, and were rented by Oneida County for use by the College for $1 per year. Day-time instruction became possible, as well as laboratories for typing and office procedures. There was approximately 15,000 square feet of space, not well-suited to instructional use.

Discussions throughout the community centered on establishment of an MVCC extension center at Griffiss as a step toward the creation of a Rome branch campus. The College’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution on December 17, 1968, stating that an exhaustive study had demonstrated the need for a branch campus in the Rome area. With this resolution, the College formally asked Oneida County to approve and support the proposed branch campus.

A College committee charged with determining appropriate curricula for a branch campus issued a report in February 1969 recommending programs in Liberal Arts (transfer), Business (transfer), Business Management (career), and Business Data Processing (career). On August 13, 1969, the Oneida County Board of Legislators went on record in favor of an MVCC branch campus at Rome.

For the first three decades, operations in Rome were administered by the College’s “continuing education arm,” known at various time as the “Evening and Extension Division,” “Continuing Education Division,” and the “Center for Lifelong Learning.”

During the late 1960s, there were indications that the Oneida County Hospital, located on Floyd Avenue close to Griffiss, might be phased out. By 1971, State health officials had found the facility inadequate for health-care purposes. County legislators, sympathetic to the growing College’s need for space and appreciative of its growing educational services, agreed that MVCC should move into the hospital building if and when it became available.

The County took action to phase out the Hospital in 1972. In May 1973, at the request of County Executive William Bryant, the Oneida County Board of Legislators approved the transfer of the former men’s dormitory building at the Oneida County Hospital to MVCC. (The County would continue using another building on Bell Road for several years before also making it available to the College, at which time the building became known as the College Center.) Three other structures, part of the Hospital complex, were demolished. The land (65 acres) was valued at $1,584,000. As a result, up to $792,000 in State aid was available for renovations.

At approximately the same time, a proposal to establish a branch campus at the site was abandoned in favor of an extension center, although County Executive Bryant stated that a branch campus would remain a long-term goal. New York State required that the College have an enrollment of 5,000 students at the main campus in order to establish Rome as a branch campus, and that Rome include a gym and library, which it did not have at the time.

In 1974, after extensive renovations creating eight laboratories, 16 classrooms, an auditorium, offices and a bookstore, the three-story 51,000-square-foot brick building was transformed into MVCC’s extension center. An old barn used for maintenance storage was also renovated, by students in the College’s Carpentry & Masonry certificate program. Two vocational classrooms were created on the first floor, with two more on the second floor. A heating system was installed in the barn by student-volunteers in an oil burner repair course, as part of a class project. The students also constructed a 14’ X 54’ extension to the barn to be used as a machine and storage agea.

At this time, College facilities in Rome included laboratories for such vocational courses as electronics, welding, major appliance repair, warm air heating, refrigeration and air conditioning, drafting and engineering drawing, small engine repair, radio and television repair, basic electricity, photography, carpentry, upholstery, motorcycle repair, outboard engine repair, snowmobile repair, and business machine repair.

In January 1978, the College received a grant of $74,570 under the Vocational Education Act to begin a new program in food service at the Rome extension center. The courses of study were proposed and approved at the urging of local restaurant and hotel operators, Griffiss Air Force Base officials, and health-care and educational institutions. Most of the funds were to be used for equipment.

In 1980, the New York State Department of Education mandated that the extension site designation be changed to that of branch campus based on enrollment, faculty, library resources, facilities and administrative services.

In January 1983, the Rome College Foundation presented $4,000 to MVCC for use in development of library facilities at the Rome Campus. In August 1984, the College announced that it would make eight associate degree programs available completely at the Rome campus. These included Food Service, Criminal Justice, Secretarial Science, General Studies, Liberal Arts, Accounting, Business Administration and Data Processing.

A Rome Campus Planning and Feasibility Study was approved and funded by Oneida County and New York State in 1985. In August 1990, contracts were awarded to four Oneida County firms for a capital improvement and construction project. A new Science & Technology Building (later named the Plumley Science & Technology Complex) was to be constructed, and the existing College Center building would be totally renovated. The two structures were to be connected by an atrium.

The MVCC Foundation kicked off its first capital campaign in February 1991, with a goal of raising $300,000 to help equip and furnish the new Science & Technology Building. The first gift in the campaign, a $7,500 check, came from the Rome College Foundation. In April 1992, the Rome Rotary Club contributed $7,500 to help equip a carpentry lab. Dorothy H. Lawton donated $60,000 for the Rome campus’s Jean B. Higgins Library. Other donors included Rome Savings Bank, MVCC Alumni Association, Canteen Utica-Rome, Auxiliary Services Corporation, MVCC Student Congress, Bus Industries of America, Norstar Bank, Dorothy C. Fraser, The Rome Sentinel Co., and Stevens-Kingsley Foundation.

On October 11, 1991, the John D. Plumley Science and Technology Complex was dedicated. The Plumley Complex had a total of 68,930 square feet and included general purpose classrooms, library, 100-seat lecture hall with satellite down-link capabilities, and fully-equipped science and vocational laboratories (chemistry, biology, geology, physics, photonics, carpentry, masonry).The portion of the Complex standing on the site of the former College Center building now house 10 general purpose classrooms, locker rooms, a student lounge and library. And an array of student services offices, including Counseling, Registrar and Business Office. The project’s cost, shared by Oneida County and New York State, was $5.2 million.

In 1992, the Hospitality programs’ dining rooms in the 30,004 square foot Rome Campus Academic Building were renovated through a grant from the Statler Foundation.

Between 1993 and 1997, Plumley Complex additions included a fitness center to assist students in meeting physical education requirements for graduation, a two-way interactive video/data/audio distance-learning classroom funded by a $120,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, and a demonstration kitchen/laboratory.

Griffiss Air Force Base closed in 1995, following a 1993 recommendation from the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission….

A master plan for facilities renovation and construction was approved by Oneida County and New York State in 2002. Based upon this plan, the College’s Board of Trustees approved an $11 million facilities plan including a 24,900 square-foot addition to the Plumley Complex, a new 6,400 square-foot maintenance building, and renovation of existing space.

The plan also included demolition of the Rome Academic Building and the barn – two aging structures that failed to meet the standards of 21st century educational facilities. Although the Oneida County Legislature requested and paid for the architectural study for this facilities master plan, the Legislature did not appropriate funds for the project to proceed….

GENERAL HISTORY

The Rome Campus, located at the intersection of Floyd Avenue and Bell Road in Rome, NY, grew out of a request in 1953 from the U.S. Air Force to offer classes to military personnel. Initially, classes were held at Griffiss Air Force Base, but due to increasing demand from the community, classes were moved in 1958 to Staley Junior High School.

October 13, 1953, Utica Newspapers) – “130 Register For Institute’s Rome Classes – A total of 130 persons registered last night in Rome for technical and business courses which the Mohawk Valley Technical Institute will conduct there beginning Oct. 20….. One group of courses, to be conducted evenings in the Career and Technical Development Branch Building 123 at the Griffiss Air Force Base, is open to both Air Force members and civilian personnel at the base as well as to non-base students. The subjects to taught… Electrical Circuits, TV Service, Accounting, Personnel Management, Technical Mathematics. Another course to be offered in Rome by the MVTI is a refresher course in Professional Engineering, designed to aid those persons seeking a professional engineering license. This class, also beginning on Oct. 20, will be conducted on Tuesday and Thursday nights… at Rome Free Academy. It will be taught by Franklin D. Cooper, professional engineer, who is on the engineering staff of the Easy Washer Machine Company, of Syracuse.”

(Sept. 13, 1961, Utica Daily Press) – “MVTI Plans GAFB Adult Class Center – The Evening and Extension Division at Mohawk Valley Technical Institute has re-established an adult education center at Griffiss Air Force Base this fall…. The courses available there are accounting, mathematics, communications, speech, personnel management and investments…. The base center was re-established as a result of interested expressed by spokesmen there … the MVTI extension center was first begun at Griffiss Air Force Base in 1953 but was moved to Staley Junior High School in 1958 because of the school’s more central location to Romans.”

The Rome Chamber of Commerce got involved in 1965, when it created a Special Committee on Higher Education. Later, this group evolved into the Rome College Foundation, a separate organization with fund-raising status.

Co-chairing the Foundation in 1965 were Emlyn I. Griffith, later a member of the New York State Board of Regents, and Dana F. Higgins, later an MVCC Trustee. Other early members included Lyndon H. Strough, Henry A. Mauer, D. Donald Evans, A.D. Ross Fraser, Brig. Gen. A.T. Culbertson, William W. Weissman, Walter M. Lowerre, and Clifford Kotary.

(January 1968, Utica Newspapers) – “Trustees Plan Branch of MVCC; Ask County for Property in Rome – Mohawk Valley Community College’s board of trustees has asked the Oneida County Board of Legislators to approve an MVCC branch to be located in buildings being vacated by the county hospital in Rome.
The trustees’ action was taken Dec. 17 and the proposal has been before the legislators’ education and youth committee, it was learned yesterday.
Robert Griffiths, R-Utica-23, confirmed last night that his committee had received the trustees’ resolution. He said the committee had met once on the subject but ‘nothing was accomplished.’
Griffiths said the committee has tentatively scheduled a meeting with the MVCC trustees for next Wednesday night ‘to discuss it further.’ He said committee members have ‘many questions.’
County Executive Harry S. Daniels said he was aware of the trustees’ resolution but ‘no one has officially talked to me about it.’
The trustees’ resolution was unanimously adopted by the seven trustees present at the Dec. 17 meeting in the Fort Schuyler Club: David R. Evans, Charles W. Hall, Thomas S. Kernan, Richard B. Lewis, Stuart MacMackin, Bruce C. McLean, and Robert J. Thomas. Hall and Thomas introduced the resolution.
Two Rome trustees, Norman MacLeod and Rudolph A. Schatzel, were not present.
The resolution said an ‘exhaustive study over the past 11 months’ had demonstrated a need for an MVCC branch in Rome.
It proposes to offer courses of study which the trustees deem ‘feasible and appropriate.’ If the proposal is approved by the legislators the trustees would seek the approval of the State University and the Board of Regents.
According to the resolution the branch would neither reduce nor defer any capital projects at the Utica MVCC campus. The branch would be contingent on the availability of the county hospital facilities which are being phased out.
The resolution adopted:
‘Whereas exhaustive study over the past eleven months has demonstrated that there is a need for a branch of Mohawk Valley Community College in the Rome area, it is hereby
Resolved, that the Oneida County Board of Legislators be and it hereby is requested to approved the establishment and operation by Mohawk Valley Community College of a branch of the college in Rome, N.Y., area to provide such curricula as may be deemed feasible and appropriate by the Board of Trustees of the college and approved by the State University of New York subject to the following conditions:
1. That the County of Oneida make available the necessary and appropriate land, buildings and facilities at the Oneida County Hospital in Rome, New York, for use of such branch,
2. That the establishment and financing of the branch shall not result in the reduction or deferment of capital projects or the Utica campus of the college, and be it further,
3. Resolved, that in the event the County Board of Legislators approves the establishment of such Rome branch subject to the foregoing conditions, then the State University of New York and the Board of Regents are hereby requested to approve the establishments of such a branch of the college.’ ”

(August 14, 1968, Observer-Dispatch) “Group Seeks Establishment of MVCC Branch in Rome”

“Trustees of the Rome College Foundation who seek to establish a college in this area, met recently with members of the Mohawk Valley Community College board of trustees and plan another meeting in the fall.
A.D. Ross Fraser, foundation chairman, said the purpose of the recent meeting was to ‘explore the possibility’ of establishing a branch of MVCC in the immediate Rome area ‘to more adequately serve residents of the central, northern, and western parts of Oneida County.’
Fraser said that the meeting was ‘exploratory’ and any such undertaking would require approval by the MVCC board, Oneida County board of legislators and the State University of New York.
There currently are 31 students from Rome Free Academy and Rome Catholic Academy enrolled in the MVCC day division, which has some 900 students.
However, Armond Festine, acting director of admissions at the college, said that those figures were not indicative ‘as to the future needs of the college’ to accommodate Rome area students, particularly those from Griffiss AFB.
Dr, Sebastian V. Martorana, vice chancellor of the SUNY, attended the meeting. Others attending besides Fraser were Emlyn I. Griffith, Lyndon H. Strough, Dana F. Higgins, William W. Weissman and Edward A. Pascucci, foundation trustees representing the Rome public school system; William H. Flinchbaugh, Rome Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. (W.) Stewart Tosh, president of MVCC; Thomas S. Kernan, chairman of the college board, and MVCC trustees Rudolph A. Schatzel, Richard B. Lewis, Robert J. Thomas, Charles W. Hall and Norman MacLeod.
The Rome College Foundation was instrumental in convincing the Air Force, in 1969, to make three barracks-style buildings at Griffiss Air Force Base available for College use, and helped to fund refurbishing. The buildings were located near the Floyd Avenue gate to Griffiss, and were rented by Oneida County for use by the College for $1 per year. Day-time instruction became possible, as well as laboratories for typing and office procedures. Enrollment reached approximately 600 in 16 different courses. There was approximately 15,000 square feet of space, not well-suited to instructional use.

(Utica Daily Press, Jan. 30, 1969) – “Trustees Plan Branch of MVCC; Ask County for Property in Rome” – “Mohawk Valley Community College’s board of trustees has asked the Oneida County Board of Legislators to approve an MVCC branch to be located in buildings being vacated by the county hospital in Rome.
The trustees’ action was taken Dec. 17 and the proposal has been before the legislators’ education and youth committee, it was learned yesterday.
Robert Griffiths, R-Utica-23, confirmed last night that his committee had received the trustees’ resolution. He said the committee had met once on the subject, but ‘nothing was accomplished.’
Griffiths said the committee has tentatively scheduled a meeting with the MVCC Trustees for next Wednesday night ‘to discuss it further.’ He said committee members have ‘many questions.’
County Executive Harry S. Daniels said he was aware of the trustees’ resolution but ‘no one has officially talked to me about it.’
The trustees’ resolution was unanimously adopted by the seven trustees present at the Dec. 17 meeting in the Fort Schuyler Club: David R. Evans, Charles W. Hall, Thomas S. Kernan, Richard B. Lewis, Stuart MacMackin, Bruce C. McLean, and Robert J. Thomas. Hall and Thomas introduced the resolution.
Two Rome trustees, Norman MacLeod and Rudolph A. Schatzel, were not present.
The resolution said ‘an exhaustive study over the past 11 months’ had demonstrated a need for an MVCC branch in Rome.
It proposes to offer courses of study which the trustees deem ‘feasible and appropriate.’ If the proposal is approved by the legislators the trustees would seek the approval of the State University and the Board of Regents.
According to the resolution the branch would neither reduce nor defer any capital projects at the Utica MVCC campus. The branch would be contingent on the availability of the county hospital facilities which are being phased out.
The resolution adopted:
‘Whereas exhaustive study over the past eleven months has demonstrated that there is a need for a branch of Mohawk Valley Community College in the Rome area, it is hereby
Resolved, that the Oneida County Board of Legislators be and it hereby is requested to approve the establishment and operation of Mohawk Valley Community College of a branch of the college in Rome, NY, area to provide such curricula as may be deemed feasible and appropriate by the Board of Trustees of the college and approved by the State University of New York subject to the following conditions:
1. That the County of Oneida make available the necessary and appropriate land, buildings and facilities at the Oneida County Hospital in Rome, New York, for use of such branch.
2. That the establishment and financing of the branch shall not result in the reduction or deferment of capital projects or the Utica campus of the college, and be it further
3. Resolved, that in the event the County Board of Legislators approves the establishment of such Rome branch subject to the foregoing conditions, then the State University of New York and the Board of Regents are hereby requested to approve the establishment of such a branch of the college.”

(Rome Daily Sentinel, July 30, 1969) – “Legislator Proposes Establishment of Permanent Rome Branch – Assemblyman William R. Sears, whose district includes Rome, proposed yesterday that Mohawk Valley Community College establish a permanent branch in Rome.
Sears suggestion came a few days after Brig. Gen. Franklin A. Nichols, commander of Ground Electronics Engineering Installation Agency (GEEIA) at Griffiss AFB, rebuked area mayors for what he said was their failure to fight for an upper division college “within five or ten miles” of the base.
Suggesting that MVCC establish a temporary branch at Griffiss and later a permanent division in Oneida County Hospital, Sears said he was ‘convinced the future of Griffiss AFB depends on the development of adequate higher education facilities for military and civilian personnel in the immediate vicinity of the base.’ ”

(Utica Daily Press, July 31, 1969) – “Griffiss Extension for MVCC is Rejected – A proposal the Mohawk Valley Community College establish an Extension Center at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome as a step toward a long-discussed Rome branch campus failed to clear committee yesterday for presentation to the Oneida County Board of Legislators.
Four members of the Ways and Means Committee voted for the proposal, two shy of the six necessary to send it to the full board. Three voted against.
The measure calls for the county to states its intent to later establish a Rome MVCC branch to replace the Extension Center.
Proposed site for the Extension Center would be three buildings which Griffiss AFB would make available and which might be remodeled by the Rome College Foundation at the Foundation’s expense.
Officials of the Foundation asked in turn that the county plan on later establishment of a full-fledged branch using one of the Oneida County Hospital Buildings in Rome, after the hospital is phased out.
Dr. W. Stewart Tosh, MVCC president, in advocating the step, said that at extension center would be a location for the conduct of extension courses, of the sort MVCC presently offers both at the Air Base and in Rome. A branch would be a larger operation, requiring state approval and its own administrative and teaching facilities to offer a degree-granting program at the site.
The chief of information at the Air Base, Richard Sanderson, and Emlyn I. Griffith, a Rome attorney who heads the Rome College Foundation, cited the need for educational facilities to serve Rome and the Air Base’s 8,133 personnel.
Griffith said also that such facilities play a key role in influencing the Air Force to maintain its current level of activities at the base and in attracting new activities. He cited the impact of the $78.5 million payroll on the region.
The vote of the committee does not preclude further consideration of the measure, as six negative votes are required to do that, but keeps the proposal tabled for now.
Stanley Roman, D-32-Rome, said he may ask for a waiver of rules at the August 13 board meeting and introduce the measure directly on the floor…..”

On August 13, 1969, The Oneida County Board of Legislators went on record in favor of a Branch Campus at Rome.

(Utica Observer-Dispatch, August 14, 1969) – “MVCC Rome Branch OK’d – Plans for setting up an extension division of Mohawk Valley Community College at Griffiss Air Force Base, Rome, moved into high gear yesterday when the Oneida County Board of Legislators approved the center’s establishment by an overwhelming vote.
Just two legislators dissented while 30 voted for the measure, which included a statement of intent to later establish a full-fledged branch of the college in Rome pending state approval and availability of Oneida County Hospital buildings in Rome. The hospital is tabbed for phase-out soon.
Legislators estimated it would be a ‘couple of years’ before steps were completed leading to a degree-granting branch operation for MVCC at the proposed Rome site.
Meanwhile, college officials were proceeding with plans to begin courses this fall, offering for the first time afternoon courses starting at 3 to supplement MVCC evening courses already offered at the air base and the Staley School in Rome.
Dr. Armond Festine, the college’s director of continuing education, said a survey of demand for courses would be the first step leading to new course offerings at the extension center in September. …Three buildings on the air base have been made available at $1 per year for the center’s use, and will be remodeled at no cost to the school by the Rome College Foundation, an organization headed by Attorney Emlyn Griffith, to develop higher education in Rome.
Just one of the buildings will be ready by September, Dr. Festine said, but the other two would be remodeled ‘hopefully by the end of the fall semester.’ Until then, courses at the other Rome locations would also continue, he said….
The two dissenting votes on the MVCC package were cast by Wilmor Youngs, R,1-Waterville, and Charles Pasiak, R,3-Deansboro, who had also voted no when the measure cleared the Ways and Means Committee last week, 8 to 2. …”

(September 6, 1969 – Rome Daily Sentinel) – MVCC Center Hailed As Big Step Toward Higher Education Goals – Higher education in Rome received a potent shot in the arm last night with the dedication of the newly opened Rome Extension Center of Mohawk Valley Community College and the promise of more to come.
Dr. W. Stewart Tosh, MVCC president and keynote speaker, said the facility, located in three Griffiss AFB-donated buildings on upper Floyd Avenue, “represents a first step, a long step and important step forward toward the goal of higher education facilities in Rome.”
He expressed the hope that the opening of the center “is but the first in a series of steps that will bring about the dream of a full-fledged Branch for MVCC in Rome.” The dedication ceremonies took place on a bunting decorated podium backed by one of the three frame barracks-type buildings which will provide a total of 18 classrooms, lounges and offices for the center.
During the program it was announced that enrollment at the new center and evening extension at Staley Junior High School was expected to total 600 by next week.
Following the formal program, Dr. Tosh joined Maj. Gen. Franklin A. Nichols, commander of GEEIA at Griffiss, in cutting a ribbon to officially open the center to visitors.
Gen. Nichols, referred to as “the sparkplug in this engine” by County Executive Harry Daniels, was publicly commended for his role in bringing the extension center into being with a plaque presented by A. D. Ross Fraser, president of the Rome College Foundation….
Presented on behalf of the Rome College Foundation, the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce and the Citizens of the Rome area interested in higher education, the plaque stated tat “our many frustrations in attempting to provide space for this center were cleared by the foresight, imagination and leadership of Gen. Nichols.
Andrew J. Ryan, president of the Chamber of Commerce, presented two other certificates of appreciation, one to Dr. Tosh for his efforts in making the center a reality and the other to the Chamber’s Committee on Higher Education for its “countless hours of effort” to make possible this new facility.
This committee, which was organized in 1965, and later evolved into the Rome College Foundation, a chartered non-profit organization, is composed of Emlyn I. Griffith, chairman; Dana F. Higgins, cochairman; Lyndon H. Strough, Henry A. Mauer, Fraser, Gen. Nichols. William W. Weissman, Walter M. Lowerre, Donald R. Vance, and Clifford L. Kotary.
A former member, Brig. Gen. Albert T. Culbertson, formerly commander of the Rome Air Development Center and now stationed in Austin, Tex., sent a congratulatory telegram which was read by Griffith, master of ceremonies for the evening’s program.
More than 50 persons representing the MVCC Board of Trustees, County Board of Legislators, Rome Common Council, Rome Board of Education Catholic and public school systems, Chamber of Commerce and various commands situated at Griffiss attended the ceremonies and reception which followed at the Mohawk Non-Commissioned Officers Club.
In welcoming the group, Gen. Nichols remarked that he was no longer commander of that particular piece of base property which he was turning over to the city, county and Mohawk Valley Community College for the college center.
One of the city’s strongest proponents of higher education for Rome, Gen. Nichols said the base’s contribution was “the best investment Griffiss AFB has ever made,” adding that he expected there would be “lots of benefits from this piece of real estate.”…
Gen. Nichols said he and the Rome College Foundation would continue to work toward further expansion of the Center with the addition of two more base buildings next year, and “possibly, by next September, a full scale branch in Rome….
Speaking briefly were Mayor William A. Valentine, who officially proclaimed Sept. 8-13 as Higher Education Week….
(Observer-Dispatch, same date as above) — …Special guests …included Russell Williams, chairman of the County Board of Legislators; Reginald Davies, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; Robert Griffiths, chairman of the county Youth and Education Committee; and Thomas Kernan, chairman of the MVCC Board of Trustees.

(NOTE: The buildings used by the college were in the “900 area” of the base. A fence was relocated so these buildings would be “outside the fence.”)

For many years, operations in Rome were administered by the College’s “continuing education arm,” known at various times as the “Evening and Extension Division,” “Continuing Education Division,” and the “Center for Lifelong Learning.” The division was led initially by Leonard C. Schwartz, from 1952 to 1969, followed by Dr. Armond Festine.

By 1971, there were indications that the Oneida County Hospital, a short distance away, might be phased out. State health officials had found the facility inadequate for health care purposes. County legislators, sympathetic to the growing college’s need for space and appreciative of its growing educational services, agreed that MVCC should move into the 40-year-old hospital if and when it became available.

In 1972, Oneida County Executive William Bryant followed State recommendations and ordered a phasing out. Many of the remaining patients were transferred to Broadacres; others went to the Stonehedge Nursing Home, in Rome. In July 1972, there was a short-lived proposal that the Rome City School District establish a two-year state college in the old Oneida County Hospital. Dana F. Higgins, chairman of the Rome College Foundation made the proposal. He said at the time that although MVCC had expressed interest in sponsoring a branch college in the old county hospital it could not do so because of financial difficulties.

(June 2, 1972, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “College Foundation hails closing of county facility – The Rome College Foundation views as ‘welcome news’ County Executive William Bryant’s decision to close the Oneida County Hospital-Nursing Home on Upper Floyd Avenue.
Dana F. Higgins, Foundation chairman, said today that the phaseout of the facility in Rome ‘assigns high priority consideration to making these facilities available as a Rome Branch of Mohawk Valley Community College.’
The Rome College Foundation, he stated, ‘is committed to doing whatever it can to assist’ in making the branch college a reality.
Dr. Stewart W. Tosh, president of MVCC, said today that a review of the matter will be on the agenda at the June 13 meeting of the MVCC Board of Trustees.
The president said that as far back at 1968-69, the trustees and the County Board of Legislators had adopted a resolution to ‘move in the direction’ of a branch college in Rome once the capital program on the MVCC main campus in Utica was completed.
Contributing factors to the establishment of such a college, he said, would be sufficient numbers of students to warrant a new institution and the economic feasibility of such a move.
The Foundation was instrumental in establishing in Rome the Extension Center of MVCC located in former barracks buildings just outside the Griffiss AFB gate on Upper Floyd Avenue.
For several years the Foundation has been seeking to establish a college in Rome, and had received the cooperation of former County Executive Harry S. Daniels in setting aside the County Hospital complex as a site for such a college.
Higgins said today that Bryant’s recent action ‘will be a tremendous step forward in resolving what we consider to be Rome’s number one problem in the area of higher education – that is, facilities offering full-time, day-time classes granting residence credit and leading to the associate degree here in this city.’
Commenting on Bryant’s plan to relocate the patients in Broadacres and area private nursing homes, Higgins said ‘we are pleased that this plan will provide care for the County Hospital-Nursing Home patients equal to or better than they have been receiving and that it will offer hope for continued employment to present County Hospital-Nursing Home employees. These dedicated people deserve every consideration.’ ”

The next year saw considerable discussion about the future of the hospital site, For a while, there was a proposal that the 65-acre site be sold to a private developer.

(July 20, 1972, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Foundation asks education board to sponsor community colleges – The Rome Board of Education was asked yesterday to take over sponsorship of a two-year community college at the Oneida County Hospital-Home complex on Upper Floyd Ave. when that facility becomes available in September.
The suggestion was presented by Dana F. Higgins, chairman of the Rome College Foundation, who said the board is eligible under state law to sponsor such a college, much as the County Board of Legislators sponsors Mohawk Valley Community College.
He said the board’s cost would approximate $208,000 a year, based on the county’s projected contribution to MVCC’s operating budget for 1972-73.
Donald F. Fulton, presiding at his first board meeting since his June 6 election, recommended that a study be made by an ad hoc committee which he said he will appoint within the next few days.
School board sponsorship of a community college is an alternative to establishment of a MVCC branch college in Rome.
Higgins noted that the college trustees committed themselves to this proposal in 1969, but ‘to our disappointment, this approach is not moving forward, even though the Floyd Ave. buildings will soon be available.’
He said that MVCC is not able to act because of significant financial problems,’ adding that County Executive William Bryant is considering the MVCC budget for next year with an eye to his campaign promise to hold the line on spending.
Higgins said the original proposal would have moved the MVCC evening program from the present three converted barrack buildings on Floyd Ave. to the new branch college campus, and the establishment of a daytime program for fulltime students.
Higgins said the alternative is for the school board to act as legal sponsor for a two-year college under provisions of the state law, on a shared basis with the Rome Extension Center (or branch) of MVCC, the Upper Division College (offering junior, senior and graduate courses), Utica College and other accredited colleges offering graduate courses as Griffiss AFB.
He said it would be possible to use some of the buildings for secondary school courses and even some elementary programs.
The Foundation president, who said his group is committed to the establishment of a college in Rome, suggested that the school board’s initial contribution would be the buildings themselves, providing the county would turn the facilities over to the local group.
State funds matching the value of the buildings would be available for necessary modification and renovations, he said. Higgins noted that only two structures, the dormitory on the south end of the site, and the newer hospital building on the north, would be adaptable for classroom use. The center buildings would have to be removed eventually, he said.
‘We estimate that 460 full-time students, and 600-700 evening students would involve a school district contribution of $208,000 to the annual operating expenses of a Rome Community College,’ Higgins stated.
He urged prompt consideration of the proposal both because of the availability of the buildings in the near future and the educational needs of Rome high school graduates.
In addressing the nine-member board, Higgins said the Foundation had been led ‘down one blind alley after another’ in its attempt to establish a college in Rome. He added that because of financial problems, a private college is now ‘out of the question.’
He said the hospital buildings ‘are the key to whether or not we will have a college in Rome,’ adding that if the commitment is not made soon, ‘we may lose the opportunity altogether.’
Board member Donald F. McKee asked that the compatibility study of the north and south buildings, provided by the state to MVCC, be made available to the board for study.
Donald Vance, another member of the Foundation, noted that the state study projected a renovation cost of $400,000 for these two structures.
The College Foundation offered its full cooperation and assistance to the Board of Education in expanding the educational opportunities of Rome students through a community college.”

(August 9, 1972 – Utica Daily Press) – “Rome College Proposal Is Inconsistent with State’s – Development of a new two-year community college here (Rome) is inconsistent with the State University’s master plan released yesterday.
The plan would allow for the creation of a Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC).
Under the plan’s recommendations, Oneida County is one of 10 counties whose community colleges will be ‘encouraged and assisted to continue’ the development of multi-campus operations.
The Rome College Foundation asked the school board last month to consider sponsoring a two-year state college in the old Oneida County Hospital complex on Upper Floyd Avenue when the buildings a vacated this fall. The school board of authorized by state law to sponsor community colleges.
A State University system spokesman said no county in the state has two community colleges. ‘It would be completely different from anything we have now or that has been proposed for the immediate future,’ he said.
He appeared doubtful that Rome could obtain a community college separate from the MVCC operation. ….”


In January 1973, a proposal for creation of an MVCC extension center in one of the buildings that then stood as part of the county hospital went to the County Board of Legislators.
According to the Observer-Dispatch:
“The Board is on record, in a 1969 resolution, approving a “branch” of MVCC on the hospital grounds. The “branch” idea was scuttled and county planners in a report just completed, have again ruled out the branch conception.
The board will be asked to approve an extension of the campus to be set up in the building that had been used as the men’s dormitory. All other buildings on the hospital site, with the exception of the two newest structures, have been earmarked for demolition.
There is an extension now in operation now in operation at Griffiss Air Force Base but MVCC officials theorize they can expand the extension’s curriculum given the new building to work with.
The MVCC board of trustees has been urging the creation of such an extension center and County Executive William Bryant passed the request on to the board yesterday.
‘I am most willing to ask the board to act favorably on this request,’ Bryant said, ‘because I feel such an extension center will go a long way toward meeting the higher education needs of the citizens of the Rome area.’
Bryant asked the board to act at its May 16 meeting….
MVCC has hired the original architects, Harold Rice of Rome, to prepare cost studies on the renovation necessary. The college is hoping to have the figures ready for submission with its budget request, usually submitted in June.
If the board approved the move and budget requests are satisfactory, the extension could be in operation by fall….”


(Rome Daily Sentinel, May 10, 1973) – “Land grant for MVCC extension supported by three committees – Plans to secure a permanent site for the Rome Extension Center of Mohawk Valley Community College at the former county home and hospital complex on Floyd Ave. took a giant step toward reality Wednesday night (May 9th) in the County Office Building in Utica.
Three key committees – education and youth, public works, and ways and means – approved legislation turning over the old brick men’s dormitory and adjacent access lands to MVCC. The measure will be considered by the full 37-member Board of County Legislators on Wednesday, May 16.
Approval of the transfer, however, did not come without some convincing on the part of representatives of the college that the county would not have to finance the transfer and renovation project.

Dr. W. Stewart Tosh, president of MVCC as well as J. Paul Graham, dean of business affairs, and Russel C. Fielding, chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees, assured the legislators that if the county acted before July 1, 100 per cent in state aid would be available for the $406,800 project. July 1 is the deadline for inclusion into the state budget for fiscal 1974.
According to a funding formula, the state will pay up to half of the project cost based on the value of the existing building if it were new, and the value of the land as determined by the State University of New York.
Value of the 65-acre complex has been tagged at $1.6 million. Graham explained that it would be desirable for the county to deed the entire complex to MVCC with an eye on a possible branch campus sometime in the future, but that only the men’s dormitory and parking areas would be needed for an extension center. Graham said that his minimum parcel – about five acres – would cover state requirements for funding.
The county currently maintains a variety of services in the former administration building at the opposite of the complex. These services will continue. The remaining buildings on the 12-acre hospital-home site will be demolished with federal revenue sharing funds.
John R. Evans Jr., R-28, Utica, a supporter of the project, wanted to know where the county was going to get $406,800 to pay for the project until the state came across with its aid in 1974.
Lee legislator John G. Ringrose, R-7, said that the county would float a bond anticipation note with an assurance that it would be refunded by the state.
Donald R. Vance, personnel officer for Griffiss AFB, told the legislators that despite efforts at the present extension facility quartered in old wooden buildings just off the base, Rome is considered an ‘educational desert’ in Washington. Vance cited he growing technological needs of the facility in support of the extension.
Letters from the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rome College Foundation were read in support of the legislation.
Board Chairman Russell W. Williams, R-17, Utica, commented that in view of the MVCC permanent extension plans, the board should consider ‘adjusting’ a $300,000 federal revenue sharing appropriation approved earlier this year by the board for renovation and demolition at the Floyd Avenue site.
A letter from Rome realtor William F. Lennon to Williams expressing interest in private development of the property generated little discussion.
Emlyn I. Griffith, candidate for state regent, praised Rome area legislators for their ‘united front’ in winning approval of the measure which will go to the full board Wednesday. If it passes, MVCC will be able to double its extension services to Rome and western Oneida County.”

On May 16, 1973, at the request of County Executive William Bryant, the Oneida County Board of Legislators approved the transfer of the former men’s dormitory building at the Oneida County Hospital on Floyd Avenue to MVCC. (The County would continue using another building on Bell Road for several years before also making it available to the College.) Three other structures, part of the hospital complex, were demolished. The demolition was done by Santaro-Taroson Inc., East Syracuse, low bidder, for $42,800. The land (65 acres) was valued at $1,584,000. As a result, up to $792.000 in State aid was apparently available for renovations, estimated to cost $360,000.

At approximately the same time, a proposal to establish a branch campus at the site was abandoned in favor of an Extension Center, although County Executive William Bryant said that a Branch Campus would remain a long-term goal. New York State required that the College have an enrollment of 5,000 students at the main campus, in order to establish Rome as a Branch Campus, and that Rome include a Gym and Library, which it did not have at the time. For a brief time, there was a proposal by Utica legislator Russell Williams (Board Chairman) to sell the land instead to a private developer, Rome realtor William F. Lennon.

(May 20, 1973, Observer-Dispatch) – “Funding Plan for MVCC’s Rome Branch Appears to Have Hit Snag – The funding plan for an extension of Mohawk Valley Community College in Rome may have hit a snag.
The plan, devised by Paul Graham, MVCC’s dean of business, was put together so that Oneida County would not have to put up any cash.
The county, according to Graham’s plan, would donate land and a building at the site of the old Rome Hospital. Graham estimates that the donation exceeds $1 million and is 50 per cent reimbursable by the state.
Graham also figured that $406,000 in necessary building renovations could be paid for with the monies reimbursed by the state – thus the cost to the county would be zero.
The State University has told Graham that the procedure is a little irregular but will take it under consideration. Ellis W. Rowlands, director of community colleges for the state, said the sponsor, in this case the county, usually carries out any renovations and charges the college rental for the space renovated.
Graham, in a letter to the board of legislators, which approved the land transfer last week, pointed to a third funding possibility. He said the county could renovate the building and receive 50 per cent reimbursement for the renovation from the state.
The budget request will go before the State University Board of Trustees before it makes out its 1973-74 budget.
If the budget problems are ironed out, MVCC hopes to open the extension center by 1974, with an aim toward doubling its Rome enrollment of 1,200 in five years.
The new facility will double the amount of pace the college now has at Griffiss Air Base. College officials believe the larger space will enable the curriculum to be expanded so that more technical and laboratory-related subjects can be offered.
The establishment of the extension center represents somewhat of a retrenching from 1969 plans for a ‘branch’ of the college being set up in Rome.
Revised enrollment estimates forced the college to rethink the ‘branch’ idea and the extension route was then implemented. Graham says State University people agree with the new concept.
Administrators have not completely abandoned the ‘branch’ idea, however.
Meeting with county legislators, college officials asked that the 63 acre Rome Hospital site be held in county control should trends change and a ‘branch’ become necessary.
Plans for the site include the use of two other buildings for county-related functions, the demolition of all other structures (the county has allocated $300,000 for that purpose), and the establishment of a little league field.
There had been some discussion about selling the land to a private developer. That died with the approval of the board of legislators last week.”

In 1974, after extensive renovations (costing approximately $450,000) supervised y Harold Schecter, assistant to Dean Festine, creating eight laboratories (including electronics, business machine repair, welding, small engine repair, drafting, refrigeration and air conditioning, major appliance repair, language), 16 classrooms, an auditorium, offices and a bookstore, the 40-year-old three-story 51,000-square-foot brick building was transformed into MVCC’s extension center. All electrical, plumbing and heating systems were replaced, an elevator was installed, and a stairwell added on the east side of the building. The expansion permitted the introduction of the first day-time classes. In 1980, the New York State Department of Education mandated that the extension site designation be changed to that of branch campus based on enrollment, faculty, library resources, facilities and administrative services. An old barn used as a maintenance storage shack was also renovated, by students in the College’s Carpentry & Masonry certificate program, under the direction of instructor Ronald Fancett, a local general contractor. Two vocational classrooms were created on the first floor, with two more on the second floor. A heating system was installed in the barn by students in an oil burner repair course as a project for their program, and on a voluntary basis. The project was completed under direction of instructor Pat Mecuri, who was employed at the time by Griffiss Air Force Base in heating and air conditioning. The students also constructed a 14’ X 54’ extension to the barn to be used as a machine and storage area.

At this time, there were laboratories at Rome for such vocational courses as electronics, welding, major appliance repair, warm air heating, refrigeration and air conditioning, drafting and engineering drawing, small engine repair, radio and television repair, basic electricity, photography, carpentry, upholstery, motorcycle repair, outboard engine repair, snowmobile repair, and business machine repair.

Enrollment in Sept 1974 was 500. By 1978 it was 1,500.

(Rome Daily Sentinel, Nov 22, 1975) – “MVCC center offering baby-sitting services - … For the first time, MVCC’s Rome Extension Center will provide child care services for day students during the winter term which begins December 1…. Dr. Armond J. Festine, dean of continuing education, said the decision to provide baby-sitting services for prospective students came as a result of a survey taken last summer….
A minimal fee is charged for the service - $6 for any three-hour period for the entire 11-week quarter. It was found necessary to limit attendance to three hours because of nursery school and day-care requirements by law for longer sessions.
Director of the program is Mary Ann Calynycz, a registered nurse…. The play area will be an auditorium in the administration building. Four play centers have been readied and toy and games are on hand. Cookies and juice will be provided.
‘This is not an educational program,’ Dr. Festine said, ‘but a service to enable parents who want it to attend college classes. We will keep their children amused and happy in a healthful environment.’ ”

In January 1978, the College received a grant of $74,570 under the Vocational Education Act to begin a new program in food service at the Rome Extension Center. The courses of study were proposed and approved at the urging of local restaurant and hotel operators, Griffiss Air Force Base officials, and health care and educational institutions. Most of the funds were to be used for equipment.


(Dec. 5, 1979 – Rome Daily Sentinel) – “College extension, branch proposal gets second look – A state official told the Rome College Foundation Tuesday that because of college and community opposition, the State Education Department is taking a second look at proposed new regulations for college extension and branch colleges.
Dr. George Sussman, assistant to the deputy commissioner for higher and professional education, addressed the board and area college representatives at the Rome Club Tuesday noon….
Dr. Sussman said Commissioner Gordon M. Ambach has appointed an advisory group of college presidents to review the provisions of a proposal which was to be sent to the Regents for action in December.
As a result, the new regulations are expected to be redrafted and sent to the Regents in March or April, for implementation in September 1980 instead of January as originally planned….
The regulations, as proposed, would permit extension centers, such as those operated in Rome by MVCC and State University College of Technology at Utica-Rome, to operate with state permits for three years only.
At the end of that time centers offering more than 12 courses and with more than 300 registrations would have to meet the requirements for a branch college offering full degree programs.
Smaller centers would be diminished in their roles to extension sites.
Dr. Sussman said that the local extension centers – MVCC on Floyd Ave. and SUNY at 303 W. Liberty St. – would fall into the branch campus category under the originally proposed regulations.
He clarified that a branch campus need not provide all of its own supportive services on site, but it would be necessary that students ‘have access’ to such services, such as a library and gym….”

(April 23, 1980, Utica Daily Press) – “Griffith to propose changes – Having won a battle to differentiate rural upstate areas from metropolitan areas in the proposed state regulations governing branch campuses, Regent Emlyn Griffith will propose three new amendments to those regulations tomorrow.
The state Education Department originally wanted larger extension centers – including MVCC’s Rome center – to expand curricula and physical plants in order to make them full-fledged branch campuses.
Upstate officials – particularly those from Mohawk Valley Community College and Jefferson County Community College – protested, arguing that funds are not available for rapid expansion.
Griffith fought the move, arguing that the state had not taken sparsely populated areas into account. Commissioner Gordon Ambach has, in his latest proposal, included exceptions for ‘certain kinds of off-campus sites, including those serving military personnel (Griffiss Air Force Base and Fort Drum) and sparsely populated areas.’
But Griffith said last night that the new amendments will widen the distinction between the upstate and downstate campuses.
Tomorrow, he will ask the Board of Regents to raise the ceiling on the number of courses offered from 15 to 50, and the number of course registrations from 350 to 750 to put local community colleges – including MVCC, Jefferson, and Herkimer County Community Colleges – under the limit.
He will ask that more part-time instructors be allowed at extension centers, and propose that schools appealing a decision under the new regulations have the option of going to a panel of Regents rather than the commissioner.
Griffith called his proposals ‘a compromise between the ideal and the practical,’ saying they allowed for some flexibility in a set of rules that were far too rigid.
He said MVCC’s Rome center will have to expand in the future, but the current rules would force a cutback in services that would only inhibit the college’s growth.”


(April 29, 1980, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Regulations on extension centers of colleges rated ‘mixed bag’ – Regent Emlyn I. Griffith today said new regulations governing state college extension centers, approved by the Board of Regents Thursday, are a ‘mixed bag’ for Mohawk Valley Community College and State University College of Technology at Utica-Rome.
He said he was successful in his efforts to make the state education commissioner’s rules more flexible, but was unsuccessful in altering the regulations governing faculty numbers that could limit the number of continuing education classes offered in Rome.
‘I’m enough of an optimist that I feel both extension centers in Rome can adjust to the new regulations, and if they run into problems, I will come back to the Regents with more amendments,’ Griffith said.
The Rome attorney said the most important point of the regulations that he was able to retain is that the commissioner will consider the unique status of centers serving rural and military populations when approving extension center programs.
Griffith said this regulation for special consideration will enable Commissioner Gordon M. Ambach to waive other regulations that could affect the local extension centers, such as that governing full-time faculty.
Under the new set of rules, 51 percent of the institution’s home campus and extension center faculty, combined, must be full-time staff members.
According to figures released earlier this year by MVCC President Dr. (George) H. Robertson, this limitation could reduce the number of evening continuing education programs offered by MVCC from one-third of the total number of course offerings to about 20 percent.
Most of the evening courses are offered by part-time personnel.
Griffith pointed out today that SUNY and MVCC extension centers ‘unique’ population – military and rural residents of the area – could entitle it to a waiver from this rule.
The regent said he explained to his colleagues in Albany that the military require specialized courses not generally offered to a civilian population, and therefore the expertise needed to teach these subjects is generally available only on a part-time basis from technicians at the base.
He noted that the proposed ceiling of 15 courses and 350 students is now the ceiling for extension ‘sites,’ and the ‘floor’ or minimum number for extension centers.
As such, he said, the local extension centers operated by SUNY and MVCC can still qualify as centers, but must have their programs approved by the commissioner.
Had the program and student limitations remained in the rules, the local facilities would have had to qualify as branch campuses or reduce their programs.
‘It is now up to the commissioner to make the decision as to when an extension center is large enough to qualify as a branch campus. This is the flexibility I like,’ Griffith said.
However, as centers, under the new regulations, libraries, laboratories and counseling must be provided wherever courses are offered as part of a registered curriculum.
Griffith said he hopes that both extension centers in Rome will qualify under the library and counseling provision, especially with the availability of the jervis, Mid-York and Griffiss libraries, and that the commissioner would waive the regulations governing laboratories. ….”

(Dec. 19, 1980- Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Regents move to expand MVCC campus in Rome – The state Board of Regents, in action this morning, set the wheels in motion to expand the Rome Extension Center of Mohawk Valley Community College into a full branch campus.
The extension center on Floyd Ave., opened in 1970 with the financial sponsorship of the Rome College Foundation, is one of several extension centers affected by the Regents’ decision to amend the State Master Plan for community colleges.
Regent Emlyn I. Griffith, a former president of the Foundation who spearheaded the move for the MVCC extension center in Rome, said today that the Regents’ action brings a ’10-year dream closer to reality.’
MVCC has offered courses in Rome since 1954, and initially served the educational needs of only military personnel at Griffiss Air Force Base. But by 1958, because of local demand, the operation was expanded to include non-military students.
In 1974, after operating for four years in renovated barrack buildings just inside the Griffiss gate, Rome operations were consolidated at the former Oneida County Home buildings on Floyd Avenue.
The center has 11.3 acres and two buildings, which contain 16 general purpose classrooms and specialized laboratories for degree and certificate programs in biology, chemistry, electronics, small engine repair, refrigeration and air conditioning, drafting, welding, oil burner repair, radio and television repair, masonry, carpentry and upholstery, and typing and business….’

(May 12, 1981 – Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Boehlert aiming to upgrade and expand Rome campus of MVCC – Contending that ‘Rome needs and deserves more than it now has in respect to higher education,’ County Executive Sherwood L. Boehlert has pledged ‘definite action’ within the next year on a blueprint for expanding and upgrading the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College.
While short on specifics at this preliminary stage, Boehlert said Monday in a letter to Mayor Carl J. Eilenberg that ‘we’re in complete accord on our mutual desire to develop the Rome campus of MVCC to its full potential. We’ve talked about it many times and I have every intention of moving ahead sooner rather than later.’
‘I’ve inspected every square inch of the present Floyd Avenue MVCC building (including the ‘barn’),’ said Boehlert, ‘am thoroughly briefed on the coursework and the increasing great numbers of people taking advantage of the programs and know of the demonstrated need for an upgrading and expansion of facilities.’
‘Count me in for some definite action on this in the next year,’ said the county executive.

(SEE 1982 AND 1984 REFERENCES TO LEASED TECHNICAL CENTER ON EAST DOMINICK STREET IN “BUILDINGS” SECTION)

In January, 1983, the Rome College Foundation presented $4,000 to MVCC for use in development of library facilities at the Rome Campus.

In August 1984, the College announced that it would make eight Associate degree programs available completely at the Rome Campus. These included Food Service, Criminal Justice, Secretarial Science, General Studies, Liberal Arts, Accounting, Business Administration and Data Processing.

In February 1985, a new $25,500 computer laboratory was added to the campus, assisted by a Rome College Foundation fund-raising campaign. The lab included six terminals linked to the main computer on the Utica campus. Fore this time, students had to travel to Utica to use computers. The bulk of the money was provided through a $12,000 grant from the Stevens-Kingsley Foundation. Other donors were the Rome College Foundation, Aetna Life & Casualty, Camden Wire Co., Harris Corporation, the Hinman Foundation, and the Mohawk Valley Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Other donors included the J.C. Penney Co., Magnavox Government & Industrial Electronics Co., Mohawk Valley Microcomputer Club, Oneida County Savings Bank, Oneida National Bank, Rome Kiwanis Club, Rome Sentinel Co., and Rome Savings Bank.

(May 15, 1985, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “$8.1 million expansion proposed at MVCC’s Rome Campus – The Rome Branch Campus of Mohawk Valley Community College will blossom under an $8.1 million expansion and development plan unveiled before the college’s Board of Trustees at a meeting on the campus Tuesday.
The development is part of a six-year capital projects budget for the college, which was approved with Dr. Angela Elefante dissenting. She argued that the board ‘is just duplicating the campus (in Utica)’ and the Rome campus expansion ‘is not the right way to go.’
The campus timetable calls for construction starting in 1987 with occupancy in September 1988.
The feasibility study, prepared by Stetson-Dale, Utica, includes additions to the existing two buildings on the former Oneida County Hospital-Home site on Floyd Avenue, construction of a technology center, and redesign of the campus which turns the college ‘inward’ around a landscaped ‘quad.’
The meeting drew several observers, including representatives of the Board of County Legislators, which will have to approve the capital expenditures for the expansion, the Rome College Foundation, and the college’s Planning Advisory Committee, County Executive John D. Plumley, Mayor Carl J. Eilenberg, and Rome School Superintendent Paul R. Doyle.
The campus development is long overdue, and is justified by enrollment, MVCC President Michael I. Schafer remarked.
Schafer reminded the trustees that when the state established the former Rome Extension Center as a full branch five years ago, ‘the college assumed he obligation to provide the full range of support services within three years.’ He said state officials ‘have been very lenient with us,’ in that the time has now stretched two years beyond that deadline.
In response to objections from board members Dr. Elefante and Judge Anthony J. Garramone that the expansion would create two full-scale colleges, Schafer said the need is demonstrated by enrollment.

The master plan calls for:
Alterations to 25,500 square feet of space in the Administration-Library-Computer Center (Bell Road building) and addition of 6,000 square feet for an East Commons. The total cost is projected at $2,109,900.
Alterations to 27,850 square feet of space in the academic building and addition of 2,000 square feet for a West Commons. Total cost: $1,834,200.
Alterations to 6,800 square feet to the existing barn, converting it to a maintenance center. Total cost: $50,400.
Construction of a 20,000-square-foot building for a technology center. This would be located close to Floyd Avenue, between the existing buildings, and would provide an auditorium for community functions. Total cost: $2.200,000.
Site development to include a mall – a new exterior court at the Bell Road building; and a plaza – a new exterior area for events; a quad – a central landscaped area; a drop-off area in front of the new technology center, loop roads and parking. Total cost: $1,842,500.
Total cost of the proposal: $8,127,000…..”

(October 30, 1985, Utica Daily Press) – “MVCC Rome Campus expansion rapped – 2 professors speak at meeting on proposed $124.2M county budget – Two Mohawk Valley Community College professors told members of the Oneida County Board of Legislators last night that the county should not support an expansion program for the MVCC campus in Rome.
‘Our concern is that we will have a split campus with a dichotomy of purpose,’ said Walter Davis, a nine-year MVCC professor and electrical technology instructor.
Davis and Lawrence Trivieri, an MVCC math professor for more than 17 years, were the only speakers at last night’s meeting on the proposed $124.2 million 1986 Oneida County budget….
Included in the budget is $800,000 for improvement to the Rome campus….
Trivieri told legislators that it currently is difficult for the college to meet enrollment requirements, particularly for full-time students. ‘What are we going to do if we go ahead with a full Rome campus at MVCC,’ Trivieri said.
Davis said he was concerned about transportation costs and student life atmosphere. MVCC has student dorms in Utica, but no student accommodations in Rome, he said.
After the meeting, Legislator Jack Williams, R-16, chairman of the education and youth committee, said he agrees with the professors.
Williams said the county is required to contribute nearly one-third of the MVCC budget. ‘In my eight years on the board, we’ve never met our obligations. By getting bigger, we’re going to get further and further behind,’ Williams said.
Williams said he will introduce a resolution today calling on the country to not contribute $800,000 for a Rome expansion. He said the county still needs to ensure adequate upkeep at the Utica MVCC campus before it can work extensively on the Rome campus.
At Monday’s meeting, Edward Ratazzi, executive vice president of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, said the county should be applauded for trying to develop the Rome campus.
Ratazzi said a full Rome campus will serve all county residents, personnel at Griffiss Air Force Base and specific educational needs of Rome industry.
MVCC officials are also behind plans to expand the Rome campus. MVCC President Michael Schafer, in a previous interview, said the current Rome campus is self supporting, with registration up about 11 per cent this semester.”
(The project passed the Board of Legislators and was included in the County’s 1986 budget. An amendment to delete the Rome Campus project was defeated 24-10.)

(Feb 7, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “A better Rome campus won’t harm MVCC’s Utica program, faculty told – Mohawk Valley Community College is ‘not looking at retraction from the Utica campus to build up programs in Rome,’ Board of Trustees Chairman David Mathis told faculty and staff members Thursday afternoon.
About 25 faculty members and administrators attended an open question-and-answer session held by the board (in) the MVCC College Center in Utica. MVCC President Michael I. Schafer and Trustees Riche Henry, Dana Higgins, Eugene Madden and Paul Worlock also attended.
Mathis said the board arranged for the meeting so trustees could hear from faculty and staff on the plans to develop the Rome Campus.
The Board of County Legislators has approved a four-year $8.28 million capital program for the campus, and is expected to vote soon on $380,000 in bonding for the first year of the project.
The college recently received a feasibility study from its engineers that outlined plans for the development.
The project involves renovation of the existing academic and administration-library-computer buildings, construction of a technology center, reworking of parking areas and driveways, construction of athletic fields, and landscaping on the central area to form a campus quad.
Entrances to the building would also be reworked so that the quad becomes a central student traffic area. In addition, an outdoor court and plaza area would be built for student events.
The project also includes areas for future academic buildings and housing.
Some faculty members said they feared ‘expanding’ the Floyd Avenue campus might take departmental money away from programs in Utica.
But Dr. Schafer said the project is ‘not an expansion. It’s to take a former County Home and horse barn and make it into a college campus.’ Classes at the Rome campus are held in a wooden barn and a former hospital.
Accounting Prof. Gerald A. Scotti told Mathis: ‘It looks like there’s a shift in resources’ from Utica to Rome that ‘may be more political than economical or educational.’
College officials have said the Rome campus is meant to attract students from Rome and western Oneida County, and one faculty member pointed out the coincidence that County Executive John D. Plumley lives in the village of Camden.
But Dr. Schafer told the audience that if more classes are offered in Rome and fewer in Utica in some subjects, it will be in response to demand from students.
Dr. Schafer said that will probably be the case in some areas, as enrollment has increased in Rome and dropped off in Utica. ‘Does that mean that resources are shifting? Yes. Does that mean that priorities are shifting? I don’t think that follows,’ Dr. Schafer said.
Dr. Schafer explained that while enrollment at the Utica campus has declined, more students have come to the Rome campus despite classrooms and facilities that he said are poorly designed for teaching.
Utica’s full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment for the 1983-84 academic year was 4,775 and is projected to drop to 4,071 FTEs by the 1989-90 year. Rome’s enrollment, on the other hand, grew from 548 to 684 FTEs between 1984-85 and 1985-86, Dr. Schafer said.
Dr. Schafer said enrollment in Rome increased because the college began offering full programs there, even though the facilities remained largely the same.
Members also pointed out that the money for campus development would be a capital expenditure of the county and would not be taken out of the college’s operating budget.”

(Sunday, Feb 9, 1986, Utica Observer-Dispatch) – “County Legislators get lessons on MVCC Rome Campus – Oneida County legislators yesterday toured the Rome branch campus of Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC), in preparation for their vote on one of the most significant issues before the board this year – an $8.5 million expansion of the campus.
Opponents say this eventually would lead to a complete MVCC campus in Rome competing with the main MVCC campus in Utica for county money. They also ask whether the county can afford its half of the project, even if the state pays the other half.
Proponents say it’s essential to show state and county support for Griffiss Air Force Base, which is the area’s largest employer and is near MVCC’s Rome campus. This plan would do that by building a $2.2 million technology center, which could offer the technical courses the military personnel need, they say.
This week, the county Board of Legislators will received the request to bond for $400,000 for the county’s half of the first part of this project, including planning and architectural drawings. If approved, that would be followed by a request next year for approval of the county’s $4 million share for construction.
But this is the key year and the key vote.
As MVCC President Michael Schafer told the legislators yesterday, ‘If you spend $400,000 on planning, you wouldn’t do that unless you plan on spending the $4 million.
County legislators won’t vote on the bonding this week. First, several committees will review it, including the Education and Youth Committee, which oversees MVCC.
Yesterday, eight of that committee’s 11 member toured the three buildings at Floyd Avenue and Bell Road that MVCC uses in Rome.
The proposal calls for $2 million to renovate one brick building into an administrative-library-computer center, $1.8 million to renovate one brick building for an academic building; $50,400 to renovate the third, wooden building as a maintenance center; $1.8 million for site development, including roads, drains, utilities and landscaping, and $2.2 million for the new technology center.
The legislators were accompanied by four MVCC trustees, including Chairman David Mathis; Schafer, and Michael Sewall, MVCC dean of the Rome campus, who conducted the tour.
…They … saw rooms that were built for hospital rooms and are too small for classrooms, peeling plaster caused by a leaky roof, and a small library where it sometimes takes several days for a requested book to arrive from the main Utica campus.
Afterward, Legislator Angelo Amodio, R28, a Utica resident who chairs the Education and Youth Committee, held a brief meeting of that committee, with Schafer and the MVCC trustees.
Repeatedly, Amodio questioned Schafer about a feasibility study of the Rome campus, which the Utica firm of Stetson-Dale prepared last year.
He was most concerned about a drawing in that study, which is labeled ‘master plan,’ and which shows far more construction on the Rome campus in the future: more academic buildings; a health, physical education and recreation center; athletic fields and student housing.
Schafer responded that those are not planned ‘in the foreseeable future.’ However, he added, it makes sense now, when renovations and one new building are planned, to consider possible future needs, because those needs determine the location of parking lots and utilities.
‘In the foreseeable future, I’m talking about the next 15 years, we will be recommending no additional buildings at this site,’ Schafer told Amodio.
Schafer said there are no plans now for student housing at the Rome campus, especially considering that it serves many adults who commute to classes.
Schafer also said he hoped the board would approve the bonding request by April 1, when the new state budget takes effect. Gov. Mario Cuomo’s proposed budget – now before the state Legislature – contains $400,000 for the state’s half of this year’s project.
That way, Schafer said, MVCC would be ready to move quickly on the selection of an architect.
In November, when Cuomo was in Utica for the dedication of the new State University College of Technology campus, Regent Emlyn Griffith of Rome took a few minutes to talk to him about MVCC’s Rome campus, and especially about its need for a new technology education center…..”

(Feb. 20, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Key county committee backs first step of MVCC’s Rome campus expansion – Over the objections of Utica-area lawmakers, a key committee of the Board of County Legislators recommended Wednesday night the first step of an ambitious $8.28 million plan to expand – and probably save – the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College.
MVCC President Michael I. Schafer, who attended the Education & Youth Committee meeting in Utica, described the panel’s 6-4 approval as a significant step toward preventing the closing of the Rome campus.
‘I would have no option … but to recommend to you that operations in Rome be discontinued’ if the project does not proceed, Dr. Schafer said.
The proposal that the committee recommended was a borrowing resolution for development of the Rome campus on Floyd Avenue. Education and Youth Committee approval means the project’s first phase, costing about $800,000, has cleared the first hurdle in its trip through the legislative maze. The resolution will now be forwarded to the legislature’s Ways and Means Committee for consideration and, if approved there, sent to the full 37-member board, where a two-thirds vote will be needed for passage.
The resolution calls for bonding for $380,000 to cover part of the county’s share of the first year of the project. The legislature has already approved the $20,000 in direct appropriations for 1986, and Gov. Mario Cuomo has included the state’s $400,000 share in his 1986-87 budget proposal.
The project is scheduled to cost $8.28 million over four years, with the county paying half.
The $800,000 expenditure in 1986 would pay for engineering and architectural fees.
Work that is scheduled to be done over the next four years would include upgrading the three existing buildings at the campus to improve facilities and develop a campus-like atmosphere. A new technology building would also be built.
Additional votes will be required each year for the project to proceed.
Debate at the meeting was hot and the vote was close, with Utica area legislators voting as a bloc against the measure. At least one member, Bernard O. Burns, D-3, Clinton, said he only voted for the plan to allow it to reach the full board for further debate….
Debate centered on the project’s cost. (Legislator Steven) Gigliotti (of Utica) said the taxpayers can’t afford to pay for what he called ‘a duplication of services’ in Utica.
‘How can anybody here support his when the taxpayers are going to pay for it? Gigliotti asked. ‘I will not saddle the taxpayers with this kind of money.’
But MVCC officials present at the meeting, including Dr. Schafer, Rome Dean Michael Sewall, and Board of Trustees President (sic) David Mathis, rebutted the claim that the development of the Rome campus would mean crippling tax bills for county residents.
Dr. Schafer said tuition and state aid would cover the county’s total $4 million share of the program in eight years if enrollment remains at present levels.
If, as the college predicts, enrollment at the Rome campus increases, the payback period would be closer to six years, Dr. Schafer said. And he added that the Rome campus contributes $600,000 a year to MVCC’s overhead. If operations in Rome were to cease, MVCC would lose $800,000 a year in state aid and tuition, Dr. Schafer said.
But some legislators still protested the cost. Mrs. (Marguerite) Bankert (D-14, New Hartford) said she voted against the plan because her constituents believe it’s too expensive.
(Raymond A.) Meier (R-35, Rome) said committee members should think about the benefits, not just the cost. ‘I don’t think our constituents send us here to say ‘no’ any time anything costs something. It isn’t su much a question of cost. It’s a question of return to the community.’
(John F.) Collins (R-18, New Hartford) said he’s concerned the county runs the risk of losing state support for the plan once it commits itself.
‘My main concern is that we’re talking $8 million, we’re talking bonding for 20 years. What guarantee do we have that the state is going to continue to fund us?’
Dr. Schafer told lawmakers that state commitment to the plan is strong. Gov. Mario Cuomo has already included $400,000 for the state share of the first year of the program. The Rome campus development project was one of only two community college capital building projects endorsed by Cuomo this year, Dr. Schafer said.
County Executive John D. Plumley, who urged approval, told the committee:
‘I really and truly believe that this is one of the most important votes that the county board will have an opportunity to case in the foreseeable future.’
The county executive said an improved campus ‘will give Oneida County the needed shot in the arm.’ Plumley said the campus ‘is not political. It is not parochial. It is what’s in the best interests of the county.’ ”

(Feb. 26, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “MVCC Rome campus project sent to legislature for crucial vote – With no discussion, the Ways and Means Committee of the Board of County Legislators this morning recommended that the county borrow $380,000 to cover its first-year share on an $8.28 million expansion of the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College.
The lack of questions by the committee could be the calm before the storm. In two weeks, the bonding resolution is expected to reach the full 37-member legislature for a crucial vote.
The resolution…pass 7-3…….
Although both panels passed the resolution, some debate is expected when the plan reaches the full board for consideration…
(Minority Leader George J.) Benner (D-34, Rome), who has lobbied hard for the Rome project, said after the committee’s meeting that supporters and opponent will try to drum up votes in the next two weeks. …There’s going to be a lot of concerted effort on the part of both the proponents and the opponents,’ Benner said.
Benner said the measure, in order to pass, will need support from undecided legislators.
Benner said some legislators have opposed the project because it’s in Rome….”

(March 4, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Utica Chamber endorses MVCC Rome campus expansion – In the name of cooperation between Oneida County’s two major cities, the Utica Area Chamber of Commerce this morning endorsed development of the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College though the ambitious project has sparked opposition from some Utica-area officials.
The chamber endorsement comes about one week before the Board of County Legislators is scheduled to vote on bonding for the first phase of the four-year project that college officials say is critical for the Rome campus to survive.
Some Utica-area members of the 37-person legislature have expressed fears that campus development in Rome would be at the expense of MVCC’s Utica campus.
Supporters of the project respond that the Rome campus makes money for the college and provides classes sought by Griffiss Air Force Base personnel.
Edward F. Heimers, chairman of the Utica chamber’s board of directors, said at a Utica press conference that the board’s executive committee last week passed a resolution urging county and state legislators to support spending $8.2 million on the campus.
It’s expected the overall project will cost about that amount.
MVCC President Michael I. Schafer, who also appeared at the press conference, called the resolution ‘a step beyond the parochialism that has been like a sea anchor in the past.’
The Rome campus’s contribution to regional economic development is the main reason that the chamber supports the proposed expansion, Heimers said.
‘The local availability of technical training is an important element in the growth and stability of the entire Mohawk Valley,’ he said.
Heimers said much of the need for training stems from activities related to Griffiss Air Force Base. ‘A great percentage of Rome campus students come from RADC (Rome Air Development Center) and Griffiss Air Force Base and there remains a constant need to provide adequate community facilities so as to retain (that) valuable operation,’ he said.
Heimers said the Utica and Rome chambers should continue to work together on projects that benefit the entire region.
‘This resolution reaffirms the commitment of this chamber to work with their counterpart in Rome for the betterment of the county at large,’ he said.
Heimers said today was the day for the Utica camber to step forward with its endorsement, since the Board of County Legislators will most likely vote on bonding for the first year of the project next week.
The legislature is scheduled to vote Wednesday on $380,000 of bonding for the engineering phase of the four-year program.
The project, scheduled for completion by 1991, will involve renovations to the three existing buildings on the Floyd Avenue campus, plus construction of a $2.2 million technology center.
Total price tag for the project is expected to be $8.28 million.
Twenty-five votes, a two-thirds majority, will be needed for passage because the proposal is a bonding measure. Typically, routine resolutions before the legislature require a simple majority, or 19 votes.”

(March 9, 1986, Utica Observer-Dispatch “County wrestles with MVCC Rome improvement – Vote on plan expected Wednesday – In a few days, the Oneida County legislators will consider the future of Mohawk Valley Community College. Should there be an $8.5 million expansion at MVCC’s Rome campus? Will the main campus suffer? Is the Rome area underserved?
Right now, each side says it will win. Supporters of the expansion say it will be a close vote. But several opponents say they will easily defeat it.
This is the county’s scrappiest fight so far in 1986, on one of the most important issues of the year.
‘I’m saying we’re going to win. We’re going to turn this down. There’s no alternative,’ Legislator John Collins, R-18, New Hartford said late last week. He’s been lobbying hard against it, saying taxpayers can’t afford it.
‘It will be close, but I’m taking the positive approach, that it will pass,’ said legislators’ Chairman George Carle, R-5, Camden. A strong proponent, he set up a tour of the MVCC Rome campus last week to show legislators the need for improvements.
Carle said the legislators will vote Wednesday on this proposal: Should Oneida County bond for $380,000 which, coupled with $20,000 in county funds, would be its $400,000 share for planning and designing the $8.5 million expansion of MVCC’s Rome campus?....
But the key word is ‘bonding.’ The county has safeguards for these large financial commitments, bonding requires a two-thirds vote for approval.
That means legislators who support the expansion … and many live in the Rome area … must line up 25 votes. But opponents … including many Utica area legislators … only need 13 votes to defeat it. …
Collins and Legislator Steven Gigliotti, R-26, Utica, believe they’ve lined up 16 to 17 votes against it. The lobbying is intensifying. Last week, the legislators’ mail included letters from the Utica Area Chamber of Commerce and from state Regent Emlyn Griffith, each lobbying for the project, for the good of the region and the good of its largest employer, Griffiss Air Force Base (GAFB).
Repeatedly, some Utica-area legislators have questioned how this county, which often has been stingy in its financial support for MVCC, now can guarantee support of two campuses. In response, Rome-area legislators ask whether Uticans will look beyond their parochial interests and consider this for the good of the county, especially since they say MVCC’s three buildings in Rome are inadequate and substandard.
The $8.5 million includes renovations for those three buildings, plus $1.8 million for site improvements, and $2.2 million for a new technology building.
When the legislators’ Education and Youth Committee narrowly approved this proposal, MVCC President Michael Schafer said he’d have no choice but to recommend that MVCC cease operations in Rome, if the improvements aren’t approved. Legislator Frank Andrello, R-29, Utica, denounced that statement last week as a ‘scare tactic,’ saying he will oppose it because he thinks the Utica campus needs attention instead.
Schafer also told legislators that additional buildings aren’t contemplated now. A 1985 master plan for the Rome campus shows athletic fields, dormitories and other possible future additions. Those aren’t planned now, Schafer said, but were included in the master plan for the sake of good planning, so roads and utilities wouldn’t conflict with possible future building sites….”

(On March 12th, the vote was delayed two weeks, to March 26th, because five legislators were absent)

(March 24, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “New MVCC building in Utica could hinge on vote for Rome – County Executive John D. Plumley wants county legislators to know that he’s just as committed to Mohawk Valley Community College’s Utica campus as he is to its Rome branch.
Some county legislators, however, won’t say whether they’ll support planned MVCC construction in Utica if Utica-area lawmakers oppose a proposed Rome project and make approval impossible.
Their comments raise the specter of what’s been called a potential Rome vs. Utica ‘war’ if Utica-area legislators engineer the failure of the Rome campus expansion plan. Ordinarily, the Utica construction, planned for 1987, wouldn’t be discussed until at least this autumn during budget matters.
Discussion of the project now indicates Plumley and Rome-area lawmakers are pulling out all the stops in their effort to get enough votes to pass the Rome project. If the Rome project goes down the drain, Utica can forget about its project too.
Meanwhile, Plumley has thrown his political weight behind the $8.28 million proposed expansion of the Rome campus.
But he said this morning that legislators should remember when they vote on the first phase of the controversial proposal Wednesday that he is also in favor of new construction at the Utica campus.
Legislators are scheduled to vote on $380,000 in bonding to cover part of the county’s share of an $800,000 architectural and engineering study connected with the proposed Rome campus expansion.
A vote wasn’t conducted two weeks ago because supporters didn’t have enough votes to pass the proposal. Several Utica-area lawmakers said they can’t support the Rome project because the county faces tough financial conditions.
The study would also be financed with $20,000 in direct county appropriations and $400,000 in state aid.
The Rome proposal, over the long-term, includes a $2.2 million applied technology and continuing education center.
Plumley said he also supports construction of a $2.2 million technology center at the Utica campus.
Plumley last year included construction of the Utica center in the six-year capital projects portion of his 1986 budget. That capital projects budget, adopted last October by the Board of County legislators, is a sort of blueprint of how the county plans to spend its construction money in the future.
Construction of the Utica facility is scheduled to begin in 1987 and be completed in 1988. Plumley said his support of the Utica building is ‘absolutely not’ part of a deal to get Utica-area legislators to support the Rome campus expansion because he has been committed to the facility ‘all along.’
Most opposition to the Rome proposal has come from Utica-area legislators. Some opponents have said they’d rather see the county spend its money to improve the main campus in Utica.
During the last 15 years the county has spent $12.5 million on capital improvements at the Utica campus, and $314,500 on improvements at the Rome campus, according to figures compiled by Plumley’s office.
Plumley has pointed out many times that expansion of the Rome campus wouldn’t mean that the Utica campus would be shortchanged. He said his inclusion of the Utica technology center in the county capital projects plan is evidence that he plans to keep that promise.
‘There’s no question about that. We make a commitment and we stand by that commitment,’ the county executive said.
Plumley also (said) that his commitment to construction of the Utica center wouldn’t waver if the legislature turns down the Rome study ‘because I’m committed to it anyway.’
Though Plumley says he backs the planned Utica technology center, regardless of the Wednesday vote on the Rome project, Board of County Legislators Chairman George E. Carle, R-5, Camden, said passage of the Utica project might be more difficult if the Rome project is turned down.
‘I’m sure that human nature being what it is, it would create some difficulty,’ Carle said.
Carle said he supports the Utica technology center ‘at this time,’ but ‘circumstances can change between now and 1987.’
When asked whether he meant that he would change his mind if the Rome proposal is turned down, Carle said ‘I couldn’t speculate on that.’
Legislative Minority Leader George J. Benner, D-34, Rome, another vocal supporter of the Rome MVCC proposal, said he has a ‘wait and see’ attitude about the proposed Utica building.
‘I want to wait and see how the vote goes on Wednesday, and I want to see the substantiation of the need for the building,’ Benner said.
Carle said all legislators expect one are expected to be present for Wednesday’s scheduled vote. Carle said Niles E. Oliver, R-1, Oriskany Falls, will be absent due to vacation.
The bonding resolution needs a two-thirds majority, or 25 ayes, to pass. That’s required no matter how many legislators are present for the meeting.
If the county were to finance the $400,000 local share of the study with direct appropriations instead of selling bonds, it would require only a simple majority, or 19 votes, of the 37-member board to pass.
However, Carle said funding the study directly was ‘never discussed. I think that would be quite a bite out of the budget,’ the chairman said.
Besides the new building, the Rome campus expansion proposal calls for renovations of the three existing buildings on the Floyd Avenue campus.
The proposed technology building on the Utica campus would be used for classroom and laboratory space for programs in welding, sheet metal, electrical work, electronics, and robotics, MVCC Vice President for Instruction Thomas Brown said.
The building would replace about 37,000 square feet of space that the college rents at Plaza East on Mohawk Street in Utica for $235,000 per year.
The proposed building on the Rome campus would be used for vocational programs. Dr. Brown said the two buildings would not be identical, because each would be oriented toward needs of business and industry in its surrounding geographical area.”

(March 27, 1986, Observer-Dispatch – “Round 2 possible for MVCC – Legislators might vote April 16 - ….yesterday, despite impassioned pleas from (County Executive John) Plumley and other county leaders… the Board of Legislators defeated a proposal to spend $800,000 on the detailed architectural and engineering plans for expanding MVCC’s Rome branch campus.
Plumley, Majority Leader Robert Julian, and Minority Leader George Benner, D-34, all are staunch supporters of the plan and all addressed the board before the vote. Julian and Benner said afterwards it’s possible the proposal could be reconsidered at the next meeting, April 16….”

(April 2, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “County board vote likely on cheaper Rome campus project – Proponents of improvement and expansion of the Rome Campus of Mohawk Valley Community College are scrambling to muster more support for the plan, even if their efforts eventually mean a downgrading of the original request for project funding.
County Executive John D. Plumley said this morning he is willing to see the Board of Legislators authorize a project with a cheaper price tag than the $800,000 worth of architectural and engineering work proposed for 1986.
And, MVCC President Michael I. Schafer said he’s asked the Stetson-Harza engineering firm of Utica, which already completed a planning and feasibility study for the campus, to draw up a plan for a less expensive project.
‘If it can be done cheaper, I want to do it cheaper,’ Dr. Schafer said.
The $800,000 proposal, which would be funded by a 50-50 mix of county and state funds, was rejected by the legislature March 26, but supporters still hope the plan, which is the project’s first phase, can be re-introduced at a future session.
If the first phase isn’t adopted at the board’s April 16 meeting, the county could be running out of time for obtaining needed state aid.
In the state’s 1986-87 budget, Gov. Mario Cuomo has included $400,000 for phase one. Oneida County’s request for community college community college construction aid was one of only two such requests statewide that were approved by Albany.
Supporters of the plan have said that the county, in turning down the college’s funding request when state funds have already been earmarked, could be biting the hand that feeds it.
The denial would certainly be taken into account the next time Oneida County asks the state for money for an MVCC project, supporters say.
Plumley said he doesn’t know if there is a deadline for approving the local matching funds before the state aid is taken away. He said, however, that ‘common sense’ dictates that the local funding should be approved soon.
‘Any day now I expect to get a call from the state saying …’If you folks don’t get your act together up there, then we’re going to reallocate the money,’ Plumley said.
A resolution to bond for $380,000 to pay part of the local cost of the architectural and engineering plans that constitute phase one was rejected March 26 by the legislature. Total project cost is $8 million to upgrade existing buildings and construct a technology center.
The resolution received 20 votes, five short of the 25 required for bonding. The measure, though defeated, can be reintroduced at the board’s April 16 meeting. Some Utica opponents say the proposal is too expensive, while others have indicated they might switch their vote if the county would provide financial aid to the Utica War Memorial Auditorium.
If the board leadership can reach an agreement with project opponents on a cost less than $800,000 for phase one, the original resolution could be amended on the floor and adopted.
Another risk the county takes in delaying or denying approval of the campus improvement is that the MVCC Rome campus could be downgraded from a branch campus to an extension center in the state education system.
A branch campus can offer full curricula in many programs, though an extension center is limited to offering only about 10 courses per semester.
Dr. Schafer said the state Department of Education will conduct a five-year review of certain vocational programs at the Rome Campus in about four weeks. Dr. Schafer said all programs offered by MVCC in Rome are up for review this year.
He said that when department officials see the facilities used at MVCC-Rome, it’s possible that they will tell the college to either improve the facilities of decrease program offerings.
‘Shutting down some programs over time would have the effect of downgrading the campus to an extension center,’ Dr. Schafer said….”

(April 9, 1986, Observer-Dispatch) – “MVCC tech center focus of new proposal – County legislators from the Utica area have proposed that a $2.2 million technology center to be built at Mohawk Valley Community College’s main campus – instead of at the Rome campus at this time.
Legislator Angelo Amodio, R-28, said today that the legislators’ ‘package deal’ is for a total of $5.4 million: a $2.2 million technology center at the main campus in Utica and $3.2 million in alterations at the branch campus in Rome. They want to put the Rome technology center on the ‘back burner,’ he said, adding that Utica’s center was proposed ten years ago.
On March 26, Amodio was one of the legislators who defeated a $800,000 study for an estimated $8.5 million in improvements, all at MVCC’s Rome Campus. The Rome campus plan included one new building – a $2.2 million technology center.
But Oneida County Executive John Plumley said today he’s absolutely against delaying the Rome campus’s technology building. It’s ‘the basis, the nucleus and the core’ of that project, and needed to benefit Griffiss Air Force Base. However, he said he could support making the Utica center part of the package.
Rome Mayor Carol Eilenberg met with Plumley, 19 county legislators including Chairman George Carle, R-5, and MVCC President Michael Schafer for about two hours at Rome City Hall late yesterday afternoon. Some present argued for accepting the compromise ‘because at least you are getting something.’ Eilenberg said today, while others said it’s more important to do the study first before deciding on changes.
Eilenberg said he personally believes the $5.4 million counter-proposal wouldn’t work.
‘It would be very divisive, I think, and have a deleterious and long-lasting effect,’ Eilenberg said today. He said the counter-proposal might pick up votes from three or four legislators, but he believes it also would lose votes from another three or four legislators who support the full $8.5 million plan.
Schafer said today the proposed technology buildings at the two campuses are needed for different purposes. The Utica building, he said, is needed to provide space for courses now offered at Plaza East, where the college’s lease is expiring. The Rome building is needed to provide labs for courses already offered in Rome and to add electronics and engineering science courses, he said.
Majority Leader Robert Julian, R-21, and Amodio both said separately today the Utica technology building was first proposed about 10 yeas ago, and has remained on the list of potential county capital projects. It once was estimated at $6 million; more recently, MVCC officials have estimated it at $2.2 million.
Julian said he doesn’t know what, if anything, the legislators will vote on at their next meeting, which is April 16. A strong supporter of improvements at the Rome campus and of the full $8.5 million project, Julian said he’s also a realist, who wants to be sure some improvements are made to the Rome campus.
Right after the defeat, Julian and other leaders said it was possible that the $800,000 study would be voted on again on April 16. Today, Julian said he doesn’t believe the original proposal is dead but, he said, ‘It’s on the critical list and it’s in intensive care.’
Eilenberg said Rome campus supporters are frustrated because they have a majority of votes in the legislature, but they are just four votes short of the two-thirds needed to bond for the study.
During legislative committee meetings earlier this year, Amodio repeatedly raised the issue of the Utica campus’s technology center, saying it had been delayed far too long. Amodio heads the Education and Youth Committee which oversees MVCC.
Today, he said he does not expect MVCC to renew its lease for space at Plaza East next year, and said that’s another reason the main campus would need the additional building soon.”

(April 9, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “MVCC deal would trim Rome campus, build Utica tech center year earlier – A deal with Utica-area county legislators is in the works that would permit a scaled-down Rome MVCC campus expansion, sources say. In exchange for backing the Rome campus, Uticans previously opposed to the project want this area’s lawmakers to endorse early construction of a $2.2 million building on Utica’s campus of Mohawk Valley Community College.
Whether area Romans on the 37-member Board of Legislators will back such an agreement remains to be seen.
Nineteen legislators discussed the ongoing controversy over Rome campus expansion at a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon in City Hall. One of those present said the session lasted about two hours.
Discussed was a compromise plan that would trade Utica-area support of a $3.2 million Rome expansion for immediate rather than 1987 construction of a $2.2 million technology center on MVCC’s Utica campus.
Minority Leader George J. Benner, D-34, who was present, said Romans on the legislature haven’t made any deal. ‘If there’s the slightest hint or indication that people such as myself are supporting that… it’s totally wrong,’ Benner said.
‘There is no indication from the greater Rome-area core of supporters toward supporting any such hare-brained scheme,’ Benner added.
At issue is an $8.28 million expansion project for the Rome MVCC campus proposed by County Executive John D. Plumley. A resolution that would have allowed the county to start engineering work was rejected by the legislature March 26.
Leading the opposition were Utica-area legislators. Some said the project was too expensive. Sources said other Uticans wouldn’t support the Rome plan unless the county was willing to pump up its support of Utica facilities, such as the deficit-ridden Utica War Memorial Auditorium or that city’s library and zoo.
The $8.28 million Rome project calls for renovations of three existing buildings and construction of a technology center.
The $3.2 million compromise would eliminate the Rome technology center and some other improvements. In return for Utica votes, the Romans would have to agree to support construction of a technology center at MVCC-Utica in 1986 instead of 1987 as originally planned by the county.
Benner, a strong supporter of the full Rome project, said it is ‘absolutely ridiculous’ for Utica-area legislators, who have claimed all along that they oppose MVCC-Rome because it’s too expensive, to turn around and say they’ll trade expenditures in Rome for expenditures in Utica.
Benner also called the Utica-area offer to support a $3.2 million project instead of an $8.28 million plan ‘the tail wagging the dog’ because without conducting detailed planning studies, it is impossible to predict what a reasonable cost would be.
The $3.2 million figures is based on early estimates by Stetson-Harza engineers of Utica for basic renovations to the Rome campus.
Benner said seven legislators who voted against a resolution to fnd architectural and engineering studies for the project arrived at that figure after meeting privately ‘for a few minutes’ last Friday.
‘I think it’s absolutely brilliant the way they could come up with a figure like that in a matter of a few minutes,’ Benner said.
The Utica campus technology center is one that is in the county’s capital expenditure plans for 1987. County Executive Plumley has said he supports construction of the Utica center, which would cost the same as the technology center proposed for Rome.
However, the deal would drop construction of the Rome center. The Utica center would still be built.
Sources say Uticans want to see construction of the Utica technology center moved up a year because even though it’s in the capital plan and county and board leadership supports it, they aren’t sure they’ll still be able to get that support next year.
The center would take the place of classroom and laboratory space the college leases for technical programs at Plaza East in Utica. The college’s lease on that space will run out next year.
Those present at the City Hall meeting also discussed reducing the total cost of architectural and engineering studies for the campus project from $800,000 to $500,000, according to Mayor Carl J. Eilenberg, who was present.
Asked about the chance for a compromise, Eilenberg said: ‘There are some people who think if that’s the best deal you can make, make it, because we have to go forward with’ the Rome campus.
Eilenberg added: ‘The sense seemed to be not to rush into a compromise too quickly. Whatever we do we ought to do slowly and carefully.’
The county legislature March 26 defeated a resolution to fund partially the Rome campus’s $800,000 engineering study with $380,000 in bonding. That $380,000 would be added to $400,000 in state matching funds and $20,000 in cash to pay for the study.
The county executive has said that the funding could be cut to $500,000, in which case the local share would come to $250,000.
Plumley also said a reduction wouldn’t mean that advocates of the campus were backing down, since he said the study probably wouldn’t have cost the full $800,000 in the first place. The $800,000 amount was chosen because it is roughly 10 percent of the $8.28 million projected total cost.
Present at Tuesday’s meeting were Plumley, executive assistant Richard O. Edwards, MVCC President Michael I. Schafer, city Republican Chairman Joseph Griffo, MVCC Trustee Paul Worlock, and Eilenberg.
Also present were Board of County legislators Chairman George E. Carle, R-5, Camden, and legislators Michael D. Hartwell, R-2, Sherrill; Mitchell R. Williams, R-6, Boonville; Thomas S. Pianella, D-8, Marcy; Michael C. Lawrence, R-11, Oriskany; K. Scott Creaser, R-12, Whitestown; Marguerite M. Bankert, D-14, New Hartford; and Herman J. Schwertfeger, R-17, Floyd.
Also, Theodore F. Kirk, D-20, Taberg; Majority Leader Robert F. Julian, R-21, Utica; Harry A. Hertline, D-22, Utica; Francis J. Keyes, D-23, Utica; Frank Perez, D-31, Rome; David J. Wood, R-32, Rome; Rex D. Small, D-33, Rome; Benner; Raymond A. Meier, R-35, Rome; Rosemary G. Adolfi, R-36, Rome; and Gerald J. Fiorini, R-37, Rome.
Mrs. Bankert and Pianella voted against the bonding resolution March 26…..”


(April 22, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Quick MVCC approval likely for revised Rome project – The Mohawk Valley Community College Board of Trustees was expected this afternoon to approve a scaled-down Rome campus expansion project that would rescue the county’s renovation plans from being scrapped, board Chairman David Mathis said this morning.
Mathis said the board would consider a $4.9 million campus project submitted to him in writing Monday by County Executive John D. Plumley. The proposal is Plumley’s alternative fo an $8.28 million plan which was defeated March 26 by a close vote of the county legislature.
Plumley’s new proposal includes $2.2 million for construction of an applied technology and continuing education center on the campus. It also provides for some building renovation on the Floyd Avenue campus.
Beyond that, however, Mathis wouldn’t go into the plan’s specifics. ‘I don’t want to discuss it until the board has a chance to look at it. It makes a difference. It takes a different approach to the Rome campus,’ Mathis said.
The new proposal is about 40 percent cheaper than the earlier proposed project. Legislators defeated $800,000 in spending for the first year of that plan by a vote of 20-16.
Since the proposal called for $380,000 in county bonding to partially finance detailed architectural and engineering studies, the bill required a two-thirds majority, or 25 votes, to pass….
Mathis said he likes Plumley’s proposal. ‘It’s a solid proposal, and it shows a lot of thought by the county executive. It’s something I could live with without a disruption of a lot of the educational programs at the Rome campus,’ he said.
‘I think it’s something the trustees would support without a lot of dissent,’ Mathis added.
The board president said he thinks it’s important for trustees to make a decision on the proposal at its meeting this afternoon. He added that he expects the board to OK the plan so Plumley can submit it to the county legislators.
Since the overall proposal is different from its earlier counterpart, it will have to be approved by the board’s Ways & Means and Education & Youth committees before being considered by the full 37-member legislature. …
Plumley’s new proposal differs from one advanced by Legislator Angelo F. Amodio, R-28, Utica.
Amodio, who voted against the Rome campus when it reached the board, had proposed spending $3.2 million for renovations of three buildings at the campus, and skip the technology center.
Mathis said he did not think the board would be able to support Amodio’s proposal, since the technology center is an integral part of the proposed Rome development.
Another proposal advanced by some Utica-area legislators who had opposed expansion was to trade votes for a scaled-down proposal for early construction of a $2.2 million technology center on the Utica campus.
That center is presently included in the county’s 1987 capital projects plan. Opponents of the Rome campus development, some of whom had feared that the development would lessen the county’s emphasis on the main campus in Utica, had reportedly wanted to move up construction of the center to 1986.
But Mathis said moving up construction of the center is not necessarily a realistic idea. ‘We’re not going to rush too quickly ahead with the Utica technology center,’ Mathis said.
He said the Board of Trustees has not even requested approval of the Utica facility by the State University of New York Board of Trustees in Albany. He said approval by the SUNY board takes time.
The board is often reluctant to approve capital projects, and Mathis said MVCC will have to make a solid case for the college’s need to build the center.
‘Even if the county approved moving up the timetable, it is highly unlikely that the state would concur with that,’ Mathis said.
The proposed Utica center, which Plumley supports, is supposed to take the place of space the college rents at Plaza East in Utica for laboratory and classroom facilities.
The college will spend approximately $300,000 this year to rent and maintain the building, MVCC President Michael I. Schafer said.
The college’s lease for Plaza East will expire during the summer of 1987, Mathis said.
Mathis said the board is tentatively thinking about moving college functions out of Plaza East in 1987 and occupying a new technology center in 1988. In the interim, he said, classes held in Plaza East would have to be held on the main campus.
‘It will be a little crowded for a year,’ Mathis said.
But there has also been another proposal to replace the Plaza East space. Trustee Anthony J. Garramone has proposed attempting to obtain the General Electric building on Bleeker Street for the college.
Mathis said the board may discuss Garramone’s proposal today, but probably would not make a decision since Garramone plans to be out of town for the meeting.
Mathis said the board would most likely conduct all discussions pertaining to the Rome campus in executive session.”

(April 23, 1986, Utica Daily Press) – Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) trustees yesterday endorsed a new scaled down plan for expansion of its Rome campus submitted by Oneida County Executive John Plumley.
The new plan would cost $4.8 million and include an administration-library-computer building, a science technology building and site improvements at the Rome campus. It provides no construction money for the Utica campus.
The original expansion plan would have cost $8.5 million. But the Oneida County Board of Legislators narrowly defeated a $380,000 bonding proposal, the initial test for the plan’s support, on March 26 despite strong support from Plumley and some other county leaders.
The $8.5 million plan included renovations for the three existing buildings at the campus, $1.8 million for site improvements and $2.2 million for a new technology building.
After it was defeated, Legislator Angelo Amodio, R-28, suggested a $6.1 million compromise plan that would have included renovations to both the Utica and Rome campuses and would have put the technology center on the Utica campus.
Last night, Amodio said that he did not think Plumley’s plan would ‘fly.’ He said the reason for his proposal, which was supported by all 16 legislators who voted against the bonding resolution, was to make sure the technology center was built at the Utica campus.
David Mathis, chairman of the MVCC board of trustees, expressed support for Plumley’s new plan last night, saying it keeps the integrity of the original project intact.
Plumley’s new proposal includes $2.1 million for the administration-library-computer building, $500,000 for site development and $2.2 million for the science and technology building.
Mathis said the board would tackle the Utica technology center as a separate issue after the Rome expansion is completed.
But Mathis said if the legislators want to include Utica now, it will likely mean they will lose the money the state has already committed to expanding the Rome campus. The funds set aside are exclusively for Rome, he said. The state has agreed to pay for half of the renovation costs….”

(April 23, 1986, Utica Observer-Dispatch) – “Julian blasts MVCC board on Rome plan – Oneida County Majority Leader Robert Julian, R-21, today blasted the Mohawk Valley Community College trustees, saying they have jeopardized the possibility of improvements at either MVCC campus.
County Executive John Plumley said today the MVCC project has been ‘damaged.’ Plumley said this happened when the trustees’ endorsement yesterday of a scaled-down MVCC project was disclosed ‘prematurely’ by the trustees, before county legislators were briefed.
Eight of the 10 MVCC trustees met yesterday afternoon and informally endorsed a revised $4.8 million plan for the Rome branch campus, after a briefing by trustees’ Chairman David Mathis. Mathis and MVCC President Michael Schafer said today. Trustees Angela Elefante and Anthony Garramone were absent, Schafer said.
Schafer said the trustees didn’t take a formal vote, nor did they receive a copy of this plan from County Executive John Plumley. Mathis said he, Plumley and Schafer were the main architects of this compromise.
But Julian, the legislators’ Republican majority leader, said the trustees’ action was questionable on several counts. In particular, the new plan only includes improvements at the Rome branch campus, and does not include a long-proposed technology center at Utica’s main campus – as Utica-area legislators proposed to Plumley last week in their own $6.1 million proposal.
Julian strongly criticized the trustees for acting without consulting with legislative leaders, such as himself, who have spent many hours recently trying to work out a compromise on the MVCC issue. ‘Their proposal has two chances – none and less than none,’ he said.
‘I am just furious with them,’ Julian said today. ‘I think it is absolute manifest insensitivity on their part. They have put the whole project in jeopardy.’
Mathis said today there may have been ‘a tactical error’ in not consulting with the legislators, but he said this was done with no malice toward them or toward the Utica campus. He said he had apologized today to Julian. ….
Plumley said he backs the proposal, but declined to say whether it will be modified before being sent to the legislators, as Mathis suggested was possible. Plumley said he didn’t want to discuss that possibility because ‘enough damage has been done’ by the ‘premature disclosure.’
At this point, Plumley said, he needs ‘to talk to the legislators. I need their support. It is fruitless to go forward without their support. I will be sending a proposal to the board.’
Julian said he gave his word to legislators who voted against the original proposal that he would help get support for the technology center at the Utica campus. Now that the $4.8 million does not include the Utica campus’s needs, Julian said, ‘there is no way I can support this plan at all.’ ”

(May 6, 1986, Utica Observer-Dispatch) – “Review team: Rome campus ‘not on par’ – Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rom branch campus looks like a ‘poor relation’ compared to the main campus in Utica, according to the head of a State Education Department review team which has just visited both campuses.
Alica Dollard, head of this six-person team, said yesterday, ‘The Rome campus is certainly not on par with the main MVCC campus.’
The college’s Rome campus has been at the center of controversy in the Oneida county Board of Legislators this year. Legislators defeated a proposed $8.5 million project for renovations and additions there, because a group of Utica-area legislators said any MVCC project should include work at the main campus also.
Since that defeat, there have been several compromise proposals, including one for $7 million in improvements: $4.8 million at the Rome campus and a new $2.2 million technology building for the Utica campus. Both County Executive John Plumley and legislative Majority Leader Robert Julian, R-21, support that compromise, but no agreement has been reached.
Early this year, people such as Plumley, Julian and MVCC President Michael Schafer said that improvements were needed at the Rome branch campus, located in a former county home and hospital, in order to ensure continued state approval of it as a branch campus. Otherwise, they said, it might have to become a college extension center again, greatly reducing the programs it could offer.
In a phone interview to her Albany office yesterday, Dollard said it will be weeks before her team finishes its draft report on the MVCC programs.
Therefore, she said the comments made in the teams’ exit interview with MVCC officials are preliminary impressions. Yesterday, the college issued a press release on the team’s visit, which said ‘while it might not be the right word, she (Dollard) could only call the conditions in Rome ‘shocking.’ ’
She said yesterday ‘shocking is perhaps too strong a word, ‘but the Rome campus certainly exhibits the ‘poor relations syndrome.’ It’s obvious the main campus buildings were designed for use as a college while the branch is ‘not as modern or good’ and is in buildings designed for another purpose, she said.
Schafer said yesterday, ‘I am not surprised they found conditions less than adequate in Rome, ‘a point he’s made to county legislators.
He also stressed that it may be months before he sees the team’s detailed comments in its final report. Meanwhile, he said he was pleased with the team’s overall findings which ‘were very positive and upbeat.’
The college’s release said that the team called MVCC ‘a healthy, active institution, with students making better than average use of facilities, and enjoying excellent access to faculty.’ In particular, the team praised the college’s placement testing, the release said.
The team visited the two campuses for three days last week, part of a periodic state review of the college’s programs, services, facilities and management.”

(May 14, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Compromise construction at MVCC campuses fails by 1 vote – With a state deadline of June 1 creeping closer, expected approval of a ‘compromise’ $8 million capital projects list for the Rome and Utica campuses of Mohawk Valley Community College failed by one vote Tuesday afternoon.
Four of the 10 trustees were absent, including Rome attorney Paul A. Worlock and two others who have also supported improvements at the Rome campus.
Defeated was a measure endorsing the spending of $4.8 million in 1987 to improve the Rome campus and $2.2 million for a science and technology building at the main Utica campus.
County Executive John D. Plumley is currently working on the specifics of a Rome campus compromise plan, which he expects to submit to the Board of County Legislators sometime this week. But the college also has to gain approval from the state for the plan. Capital projects requests have to be submitted to the state by June 1.
The state has already budgeted $400,000 for Rome improvements in 1986, but release of that money hinges on county legislative approval.
The Rome plan is a scaled down proposal. An earlier request to spend $8.28 million on the branch campus was defeated by the county legislature on March 26.
Because four of the college’s ten trustees were absent, only a simple majority was present. Unanimous approval was therefore required. Trustee Anthony J. Garramone of Utica voted against, saying he objected to development of the Rome campus.
‘I’m opposed to two campuses and two community colleges competing,’ Garramone said. ‘They’re already competing.’
Trustees Worlock of Rome, N. Joseph Yagey of New Hartford, Warren Copeland of Utica and Angela Elefante, also of Utica, were absent. All except Miss Elefante have supported the Rome project. Worlock was reported in court and Yagey and Copeland were reported out of town on business.
The defeat of the package is significant, since Plumley and Legislative Majority Leader Robert F. Julian, R-21, Utica, had expected the MVCC board to show its support of Plumley’s compromise plan.
‘It’s certainly not good news,’ MVCC President Michael I. Schafer said after the meeting.
Plumley, Julian, Legislative Minority Leader George J. Benner, D-34, Rome, Board Chairman George E. Carle, R-5, Camden, and others have worked hard to develop a Rome campus compromise that has a chance of passing the county legislature.
One hindrance has been what some have perceived as the failure of the MVCC board to make it clear that it supports not only the Rome project, but also the construction of the Utica technology center.
Julian had said he wanted the board to make a public statement affirming its commitment to the Utica center.
Board chairman David L. Mathis said last week he expected the board to pass a resolution saying that the board is equally in favor of developing the Rome campus and building a technology center in Utica, and that the college is committed to the principle that programs should not be transferred between the main and branch campuses.
That’s what was supposed to happen Tuesday, but didn’t. Dr. Schafer had written a resolution to that effect, but decided not to ask the board to pass it. Passage of Dr. Schafer’s resolution would have depended on passage of the capital projects request.
Dr. Schafer said he was surprised at the board’s action. ‘They just as much defeated the Utica building as the Rome campus and I’m flabbergasted.’
Dr. Schafer said the request will be submitted to the board at its next meeting. A special meeting will have to be scheduled this month, since the state deadline is approaching.
The college president said he expects to have the votes to pass the capital request and his resolution about the two campuses at the next meeting. ‘The sentiment of the board in this case was different than the vote,’ he said.
Dr. Schafer said last night the timing of the vote was unfortunate because of a Board of County Legislators meeting scheduled for this afternoon, but he said the next board of trustees meeting will be better late than never.”

(May 21, 1986, Utica Daily Press) – “MVCC board OKs Rome campus plan – Utica campus would get new technology center – Improvements to the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College are included in a scaled down $7 million building plan approved yesterday by the school’s Board of Trustee.
The same capital projects proposal was defeated a week ago by the board.
Board Chairman David Mathis said he hoped approval of the plan will be a signal that trustees are anxious to resolve a three-month stalemate within the Oneida County Board of Legislators about MVCC projects. Trustees yesterday also approved a separate resolution which puts the board on record as backing building projects at both the Utica and Rome campuses of the school.
The next move is up to legislators to approve the project, trimmed by $1.5 million, for upgrading the Rome campus and most likely provide for a new technology center in Utica. …
Yesterday (Trustee Anthony) Garramone again cast a negative vote. Eight other trustees, however, voted to pass the request as presented by college President Michael Schafer. Trustee Angela Elefante was absent.
Garramone also voted against the related resolution, in which the board back spending $4.8 million to renovate one building, build a new technology center and make cosmetic changes to the Rome campus, as well as construction of a $2.2 million technology center in Utica. …”

(May 30, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “16 legislators vow as bloc to oppose new MVCC buildings – Sixteen county legislators have pledged as a voting bloc to oppose any new construction at Rome and Utica campuses of Mohawk Valley Community College. The mostly Utica-area lawmakers say, however, they will back renovations of existing buildings on MVCC’s Rome Campus.
If the legislators remain unified, their combined votes would shoot down a recently formulated compromise urged by County Executive John D. Plumley to upgrade the Rome campus and construct high-tech buildings in both Rome and Utica branches of MVCC.
Rome and Utica-area factions on the 37-member legislature have been at odds in recent months over plans by Plumley to improve the Rome campus’ existing buildings and erect a modern applied technology structure in Rome.
Romans say the repairs and construction are critical for the Rome campus’ continued healthy existence, whereas some Uticans have expressed fears that programs may be switched from Utica to Rome. Other opponents have said the county can’t afford the project.
The 16 members opposed to the new buildings met privately after Wednesday night’s regular board meeting and put together a resolution signed by all 16 that states they will oppose new construction at Rome and Utica campuses but that they will back $3.2 million in renovations to two MVCC-Rome buildings.
Shortly before the 16 met, Plumley submitted a $7 million compromise package to the board. The compromise, weeks in the making, calls for renovations to MVCC-Rome and construction on both campuses.
The package includes $2.2 million for a continuing education and applied technology center for MVCC-Rome, $2.2 million for a science and technology building for MVCC-Utica, and $2.6 million for renovations and site development at MVCC-Rome.
If the 16 legislators who signed the resolution vote against Plumley’s plan when it reaches the floor, it will be defeated. Plumley’s proposal calls for bonding and thus would need a two-thirds vote, or 25 of the 37 legislators, to pass.
Board Chairman George E. Carle, R-5, Camden, a Rome campus supporter, said he was not told about the meeting. ‘I am very – I can’t put it strongly enough – upset,’ Carle said this morning after hearing about the resolution.
‘That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard of. That just flies in the face of rationality,’ he said.
Carle said the resolution and the way it was passed will have far-reaching implications for the future of county politics. ‘It effectively divides the board. It will be remembered. I have a long, long memory,’ the chairman said.
Plumley said this morning the resolution leaves him wondering what the 16 want from him. ‘I don’t understand it. I don’t know what they want,’ he said.
The county executive’s compromise contains a resolution to approve bonding for a $2.2 million science and technology building on the Utica campus. Half the cost would be paid by the state if the project is approved by the SUNY system.
Majority Leader Robert F. Julian, R-21, Utica, who was in on discussions with both opponents and supporters of MVCC-Rome, had called a commitment to the Utica construction the ‘key’ to winning support for MVCC-Rome.
Plumley said he also thought the inclusion of funding for construction in Utica should have won support for the plan. ‘I thought we had addressed all their concerns,’ he said.
Raymond A. Meier, R-35, Rome, also a backer of the Rome campus, said, ‘I had thought that what some of the people were looking for was a commitment to the Utica center. I don’t know what they’re looking for now,’ he said.
Carle said that although he is disappointed about the passage of the resolution by the 16, he will submit Plumley’s plan to the Education & Youth and Ways & Means committees of the board. The two committees must vote on the proposal before it reaches the full membership.
‘If they want to shoot it down, it’s up to them. If they’re voting against progressive education, that’s up to them,’ Carle said.
College officials say the construction in Rome is necessary if the branch is to retain its campus status.
Meier said he was ‘flabbergasted’ to hear about Wednesday night’s meeting. ‘I think it’s unfortunate that the discussion on this issue seems to have drifted off into factions and cliques…it’s not a good way to make policy,’ he added….
The resolution is sined by legislators Niles E. Oliver, R-1, Oriskany Falls; Bernard O. Burns, D-3, Clinton; Thomas S. Pianella, D-8, Marcy; Peter O. Gaige, R-9, Deerfield; Richard D. Joswick, Sr., D-13, Yorkville; Marguerite M. Bankert, D-14, New Hartford; Raymond F. Cardinale, R-15, New Hartford; John J. Williams; R-16, Sauquoit; John F. Collins, R-18, New Hartford; James M. Kiernan, D-19, Utica; Emil R. Paparella, R-24, Utica; David T. Ashe, R-25, Utica; Steven A. Gigliotti, R-26, Utica; Peter J. Mannella, D-27, Utica; Angelo F. Amodio, R-28, Utica; and Frank V. Andrello, R-29, Utica….”

(May 31, 1986, Utica newspapers) – “Door on MVCC project closes tighter – Assistant majority leader suggests temporary halt to discussions – Talk of denying Mohawk Valley a technology center in both Utica and Rome is ‘a rank obscenity’ and probably will end discussion of all improvements for the college, Oneida County Majority Leader Robert Julian, R-21, said last night.
The county Board of Legislators and the MVCC board of trustees have been looking for ways to unlock the stalled construction project for the college. Yesterday saw the emergence of two proposals. The first is by Oneida County Executive John Plumley and the other is a new suggestion by 16 Utica-area legislators.
Plumley’s plan calls for building two $2.2 million technology centers, one at the school’s main campus in Utica, and the other at the Rome branch campus. The Utica-area legislators suggest renovating two current buildings in Rome, but oppose new centers on either campus.
‘It’s pretty obvious they are more interested in making headlines than making headway,’ Julian said. ‘A small group of mediocre politicians is holding this community back from progress,’
The difference between the two plans means a large gap in what legislators are prepared to spend. Plumley’s proposal totals $7.48 million. The 16 legislators set a maximum of $3.2 million – down from their April proposed compromise of $6.1 million, which included a Utica technology center.
Assistant Majority Leader Mitchell Williams, R-6, said it’s time to temporarily put a halt to the MVCC issue. ‘My personal feeling is that this has consumed enough time and divided the county enough. We have other issues we should be dealing with and we should set it aside, possibly until October during budget time.’…
Frank Andrello, R-29, said the new proposal is proof that ‘we’re not parochial.’ He said the group is not anti-Rome, and that it is willing to forsake demands for a Utica technology center to see renovations done at the Rome campus.
Steven Gigliotti, R-26, said, ‘We’re not renegades – we 16 are trying to do what’s best for Oneida County.’ He characterized the $3.2 million plan as an all-or-nothing proposition.
‘That is a very, very good compromise and they better take it. If they don’t take it, then they get nothing,’ Gigliotti said.
Julian said he was annoyed at the proposal because it ignored the need for a technology center in Utica. MVCC’s technology courses now are taught at Plaza East on Mohawk Street in Utica, where the college rents space for $235,000 annually.
The five-year contract expires next summer, and the priority should be getting the students back on campus, Julian said. He said it is a waste of money to continue renting space when the college can own a new building.
But Andrello and Gigliotti said that the 16 legislators are not abandoning the goal of moving technology students into a college-owned facility.”

(Jan 21, 1987, Observer-Dispatch) – “Governor includes funds for MVCC’s $7.4M expansion – A proposed $7.4 million expansion of Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome and Utica campuses has cleared another hurdle: Gov. Mario Cuomo included the state’s half, $3.7 million, in his state budget proposal yesterday.
Oneida County Executive John Plumley said he was ‘extremely happy over it, very pleased.’ ….
The only remaining hurdle, Plumley said, is legislative approval….
The MVCC project generated months of controversy in the Oneida County Board of Legislators last year. Plumley originally proposed extensive renovations and a new building at the college’s Rome campus. That was defeated and later modified to include a new building at each campus, which legislators approved….
Yesterday, state Sen. James Donovan, R-47, questioned the need for the MVCC project at the Rome campus, saying it was so close to the main Utica campus. Some Utica-area legislators raised the same concern last year.
Donovan represents Utica, but Rome is in the district of Sen. Nancy Larraine Hoffman, D-48.
‘I’m not committed to it at this time,’ he said, adding it would be ‘premature’ to predict how the project will fare in the Legislature.
‘Have we been reduced to this point when people can’t travel half an hour to go to college?’ Donovan asked.
Plumley said none of the state legislators he has talked to, including Donovan, have said they will oppose it.
‘I’m counting on the senator to make sure this is approved by the Legislature,’ Plumley said. …”

(June 5, 1986, Utica Observer-Dispatch) “LaPolla: Won’t take sides in MVCC campus dispute – Utica Mayor Louis LaPolla says he won’t be drawn into taking sides in Oneida County’s Mohawk Valley Community College controversy.
County Minority Leader George Benner, D-34, wrote to LaPolla and asked him to use his influence with three legislators – two of whom are city employees – to show them the merits of expansion at the Rome campus….
Benner asked LaPolla to talk to Frank Andrello, R-29, foreman in Utica’s sign shop; David Ashe, R-25, director of the city real estate office; and Angelo Amodio, R-28, city Republican chairman.
LaPolla characterized Benner’s letter as an attempt to bait him into the MVCC debate. He said it would be wrong for him to butt into another municipality’s affairs. And, he said, ‘I am not going to deal with a county issue because I have work to do with the city.’
Amodio’s reaction was even stronger. ‘Nobody tells me how to vote. Nobody.’…
Andrello said, ‘The mayor doesn’t control me. Angelo Amodio doesn’t control me. I vote my conscience.’…”

(June 6, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Vacant RDC buildings examined for possible use as MVCC campus – Mayor Carl J. Eilenberg said he believes state-owned buildings at Rome Developmental Center could be renovated to accommodate Mohawk Valley Community College programs for less than the $3.2 million Utica-area legislators want to spend on the Rome campus of MVCC…..
‘It’s a beautiful campus atmosphere,’ Eilenberg said of RDC. He said he has discussed the notion of possibly moving MVCC-Rome programs to RDC with college and county officials, including Rome campus Dean Michael Sewall and County Executive John D. Plumley.
‘Everyone thinks it’s an interesting idea,’ the mayor said.
Eilenberg and several others, including county Legislative Minority Leader George J. Benner, D-34, Rome; Rosemary G. Adolfi, R-36, Rome; Sewall; MVCC President Michael I. Schafer; and Rome Industrial Development Corp. Executive Director Edward R. Ratazzi Jr., were scheduled to tour the buildings late this morning…
Eilenberg said this morning’s tour would be just an ‘informational’ session, designed to let legislative and college leaders know what is available at RDC. Many buildings are empty as a result of the statewide trend of deinstitutionalization of mental health patients.
The mayor said he doesn’t want the tour to confuse the MVCC-Rome issue. ‘My concern is that we’re going to lose Mohawk Valley Community College’s presence in this community, and that would be unacceptable.
Eilenberg said 100 acres of land and a million square feet of space are available at RDC.”

(Oct 4, 1986, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Plumley: ‘The time is now’ to improve MVCC campuses in both Rome and Utica – ‘The time is now, gentlemen,’ County Executive John D. Plumley told legislative leaders Friday when he put before them a $7.5 million compromise to expand simultaneously the Mohawk Valley Community College campuses in Rome and Utica.
Plumley is looking at an Oct. 22 deadline for submitting an approved project and bonding resolution to the State University Board of Trustees in order for the funds to be included in SUNY’s capital projects budget for next year, and he’s determined to make that deadline with a signed document in hand.
He’s put his legislative leaders on notice that the project needs to be expedited, and Board of Legislators Chairman George E. Carle, R-5, Camden, is doing just that by submitting the proposal directly to the Ways and Means Committee for consideration at its meeting Tuesday.
Approval by Ways and Means would send the bill directly to the 37-member Board of County Legislators for action at its Oct. 15 meeting. A two-third vote is needed for passage.
Normally, the legislation would go to the Education and Youth Committee first, but this committee is headed by Utica Legislator Angelo Amodio, R-28, who voted against the expenditure in the past, while the Ways and Means Committee is headed by a supporter of the college expansion proposal, K. Scott Creaser, R-12, Whitesboro.
Plumley denied that there is any intention of circumventing Amodio’s committee.
‘The chairman has the prerogative to refer any legislation to any committee he wants, and all legislation must go to Ways and Means,’ Plumley said, supporting Carle’s action to by-pass Education and Youth Committee in order to get the resolution on the table for the Oct. 15 meeting.
‘When time is of the essence, you go directly to Ways and Means,’ he emphasized. Plumley pointed out that ‘the MVCC issue has been discussed and rediscussed. No part of the learning process has been left incomplete except an understanding of the philosophical argument over the amendment to the bonding resolution.’
‘Nobody is trying to circumvent Education and Youth. This is a way of speeding up the process in a very, very compressed time frame. It is the most expedient way of doing it.’
Carle used the same argument in explaining why he opted to go directly to Ways and Means.
‘Everyone knows the issue and the resolution. It is no surprise to anyone. By going directly to Ways and Means, it can be voted on by the full board Oct. 15,’ the chairman said.
As for by-passing the normal committee procedure, Carle said ‘it’s been done before and it will be done again.’
The Oct. 22 deadline gives project supporters strong leverage in obtaining yes votes on the campus project, since the MVCC deadline is just days before the legislature is scheduled to vote on the 1987 county budget.
A withholding of votes for the college project by Utica-area interests, 16 of whom vowed last summer to vote as a bloc against the MVCC Rome proposal, could mean budgetary retaliation by MVCC-Rome supporters.
Several appropriations for Utica, including aid for the Utica library and zoo, are part of Plumley’s 1987 budget proposal…
‘What those opposing it did was absolutely without logic and reason,’ the executive said.
Plumley said his object now is not to build more controversy, ‘but to cool and neutralize’ the situation.
But he added firmly, ‘if the community misses this opportunity to move forward with the two campuses, it is an unforgivable thing.’
Plumley said he made that message clear to the board leadership Friday.
‘This is the time, gentlemen, and I’m not going to be a part of this thing failing. I’m going to do the best I know how to get it passed,’ he said.
The proposal submitted by Plumley, along with the bonding resolution to support the project, lines up this way:
- A science and technology building on the Utica campus, $2.2 million, with architectural and engineering work to commence as soon as possible, simultaneously with construction at the Rome Branch Campus.
- Rehabilitation of the administration, library and computer building at the Rome campus, $2,109,900; construction of a technology center, $2.2 million; site development, $500,000, and architectural work, $480,000.
The total project cost to be funded under a bonding resolution is $7,489,900.
Plumley envisions the work to start as soon as possible, but emphasized that without formal approval of the MVCC projects by the Board of County Legislators, and review by the SUNY board Oct. 22, ‘there is little chance that any work on either project could be done during the 1987 year.’ ”

(On Oct 7, the Ways and Means Committee supported the plan by a vote of 8-3. On October 15th, the full Board of County Legislators passed the plan 25-11, with the minimum number of positive votes needed for passage.)

(Feb 11, 1987, Utica Observer-Dispatch) – “Architect is named by MVCC board – The Mohawk Valley Community College Board of Trustees yesterday chose an architect for its Rome campus improvements.
Trustees also decided not to hire an architect for a new $2.2 million building for the Utica campus.
The two projects, totaling $7.4 million, were approved by the Board of Legislators last year. Gov. Mario Cuomo included them in the proposed 1986-87 state budget now before the legislature.
MVCC President Michael Schafer said yesterday he wants to be ready to proceed with designs of the two projects on April 2, if they’re approved in the state budget which takes effect April 1. The state and county each would pay half the project…
Trustees approved the Long Island architectural firm of Gismondi and Arnold, the principal architect of other buildings, including Payne Hall on the Utica campus. The recommendation now goes to State University Construction Fund officials for approval.
Also on Schafer’s recommendation, the trustees selected a pre-engineered building design for the $2.2 million science and technology building for the Utica campus. The recommendation also will be sent to the State University Construction Fund.
The Oneida County Department of Public Works would coordinate the new Utica campus building, and hire architects and engineers as consultants, as needed. Schafer said the move will ensure the building’s exterior coordinates with the campus.
He said the pre-engineered design would allow the county to get a much larger laboratory building. The building costs about $60 per square foot, compared to a specially designed building that could cost as much as $100 a square foot, he said.”

(Feb 14, 1987, Observer-Dispatch) – “Stetson blasts snub on MVCC’s Rome project – John Stetson has written all 36 Oneida County legislators, saying his firm should have been considered for the project at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus.
On Tuesday, the MVCC Board of Trustees agreed to have the White Plains architectural firm of Gismondi and Arnold do the design work for the $5.2 million Rome campus construction project. It was the only firm considered. The recommendation now goes to the State University Construction Fund for approval. No fee has been set.
‘It was really a shock when I opened the paper and read that our plans would be utilized, but not by us,’ said Stetson, president of Stetson-Harza, architects and engineers. His company, which employs about 220 people in its Utica office, did the feasibility study for Oneida County on the MVCC Rome campus project.
Several county legislators, led by Angelo Amodio, R-28, have questioned the trustees’ action. Amodio is head of the legislators’ Education and Youth Committee, which oversees MVCC.
Amodio yesterday wrote to County Executive John Plumley, asking him to help ‘reverse the decision of the trustees and remedy a gross injustice.’
Plumley said he couldn’t comment on Amodio’s letter, because he hadn’t yet seen it. Plumley has said he supports the trustees’ decision.
During the trustees’ meeting, Schafer said that Gismondi and Arnold has been the college’s principal architect for many years, working on the Utica campus. He said Joseph White, head of MVCC’s physical plant, and county Public Works Commissioner Anthony Doren had recommended the firm, with Plumley’s concurrence.
The eight trustees present approved it unanimously. Trustee Eugene Madden was absent.
In his letter, Stetson said, ‘Since we are totally familiar with the Rome campus program and the existing facilities, we are best positioned to move this work rapidly to completion. The Rome campus project would represent an important part of Stetson-Harza’s work for the coming year. Our being precluded from projects of this scope in our immediate area will seriously undermine our plans for continued expansion and may jeopardize present employment levels within the firm.’
He said the decision was disappointing and frustrating. ‘With 48 members of our firm from MVCC, we are one of the largest single employers of MVCC graduates,’ he said.
‘Despite these facts and our successful performance on the planning study, Stetson-Harza was neither interviewed for the project now given an opportunity to submit a proposal.’
Yesterday, two more legislators criticized the decision.
Peter Gaige, R-9, expressed disbelief that a local firm wasn’t consulted.
‘At best, this demonstrates poor judgment on the part of Mr. Plumley and Mr. Schafer; at worst, a total lack of sensitivity regarding the legitimate concerns of area businesses over participation in area projects,’ Gaige said.
Marguerite Bankert, D-14, said, ‘If we’re going to encourage business to come here, we better encourage the businesses here – with our business.’ ”

(March 5, 1987, Observer-Dispatch) – “2 trustees” Questioned architect choice – Discuss MVCC issue with county legislators – Two Mohawk Valley Community College trustees said last night they initially questioned the hiring of a White Plains architect before voting to approve the firm.
The questioning came during a 44-minute executive session at the trustees’ Feb 10 meeting, they said. The trustees didn’t discuss the issue during the public session when they unanimously decided to hire the firm of Gismondi and Arnold.
It is the first indication the choice – which has been criticized by some Oneida County legislators – caused some dissension among the college trustees.
When the trustees convened their executive session on Feb. 10, they said it would cover two issues – the lease of real estate and collective bargaining. The state’s Open Meetings Law says both matters may be discussed in executive session.
Last night, college trustees and college President Michael Schafer said much of the executive session covered two proposals – to hire the White Plains architectural firm for a MVCC Rome campus project and to build a $2.2 million laboratory building for the Utica campus by using a pre-engineered design to save on design costs. The Utica building is to replace the college’s leased space at Plaza East – Schafer has said that was the lease discussed in executive session.
The two trustees, Utica City Court Judge Anthony Garramone and N. Joseph Yagey, told county legislators last night they asked why the Utica firm of Stetson-Harza architects and engineers wasn’t being considered.
Their comments came during a meeting of the MVCC trustees and the legislators’ Education and Youth Committee. It was scheduled at the request of Legislator Angelo Amodio, R-28, one of the critics of the trustees’ decision. Others present included Schafer, Assemblyman Ralph Eannace, R-116, Legislators’ Chairman George Carle, county Comptroller David Townsend, county Public Works Commissioner Anthony Doren and Joseph White, director of MVCC’s physical plant.
Garramone and Yagey said Stetson-Harza was considered during the executive session, but there were recommendations from Schafer and county officials to choose Gismondi and Arnnold, a firm long associated with the MVCC main campus.
Garramone said the issues were discussed privately, but not aired publicly because ‘the project has seen enough problems.’ ”

(March 14, 1987, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Donovan studies RDC for possible MVCC site – State Sen. James H. Donovan, R-47, Chadwicks, says he is in favor of upgrading Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus, but the question for him is where the campus should be – at its present site on Upper Floyd Avenue or on the grounds of Rome Developmental Center?
He suggests considering a corner of RDC for the college although MVCC President Michael I. Schafer and County Executive John D. Plumley both consider RDC buildings unsuitable for college use.
After a tour of RDC Friday afternoon, Donovan said he was surprised to find the buildings on the 1,000-acrea campus are (in) such good shape and he believes the facility would lend itself to ‘many uses’ if the Legislature goes along with Gov. Mario M. Cuomo’s proposal to close RDC by 1991.
Donovan, who is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, was asked if he intends to support Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposal for $3.7 million in state aid for MVCC’s expansion plans, which include a new building and renovations for MVCC’s Rome campus, as well as a new building at the Utica campus.
Donovan said, ‘I don’t know.’ Donovan said he could not say at this time whether he favored or opposed the state aid.
‘I’m in favor of upgrading the Rome campus, but where? Maybe here,’ Donovan said, gesturing toward the RDC buildings.
‘I want to discuss that in the community and in Albany. I want to see the maximum use of RDC, if possible,’ the senator said.
RDC, he said, is ‘huge and expensive,’ so it will take a ‘major state need’ to justify spending state money for any construction and renovations a revamped RDC might require.
‘You could put MVCC (Rome campus) in one corner,’ Donovan said by way of saying that an MVCC campus would certainly not constitute a state need for a big facility for some purpose.
‘But there are a lot of corners,’ Donovan said, implying an MVCC campus could share space at RDC with other uses.
However, he acknowledged that state corrections people would not consider RDC for a prison if a college campus were located there too.
A prison appears at this time to hold out the best hope for keeping the RDC facility on the map and saving jobs that would be lost if RDC is closed.
Cuomo wants to close the 47-building RDC, which is about 100 years old, and four other developmental centers over four years.
The $60 million savings realized by closures would be used to expand community services for the developmentally disabled….


(April 1, 1987, Observer-Dispatch) – “Donovan backs MVCC plan – State Sen. James Donovan, R-47, yesterday pledged his support for a state budget proposal for major renovations at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus.
Earlier, he had questioned the proposal. Yesterday, he said he still thinks the college and Oneida County officials should consider using part of the Rome Developmental Center (RDC), which the state plans to phase out by 1991….
But Donovan said these decisions are up to the college and the county, which sponsors the community college.”

(April 10, 1987, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “MVCC-Rome construction aid in state budget agreement – A plan to expand Mohawk Valley Community College, which has proceeded in fits and starts for more than a year, got a shot in the arm Thursday from the state Legislature.
Some $3.7 million in building aid proposed in January by Gov. Mario Cuomo survived last-minute budget negotiations among lawmakers.
According to RoAnn Destito, regional office director for Assembly Speaker Mel Miller, the aid is included in a $41 billion compromise package that is expected to win approval today or Saturday. The state has been running on stopgap fiscal measures since April 1, when the 1987-88 fiscal year officially began.
The $3.7 million represents the state’s 50 percent share of the proposed $7.4 million project, which would expand the Rome and Utica campuses of MVCC.
County Executive John D. Plumley, on hearing of the project’s inclusion in the spending package, said ‘I am very pleased.’ Plumley has seen the proposed project through some hard times, including a March 1986 defeat of a bonding resolution for work at MVCC-Rome, and the recent reluctance of Sen. James H. Donovan, R-47, to support the proposal.
However, after saying in January that it might not be wise to use taxpayers’ money to improve two campuses located so close together, Donovan announced April 1 that he had decided to support the project.
The county executive said Donovan’s last-minute support ‘most assuredly’ helped the funding to be included in the legislative compromise. Since Donovan is on the Education and Finance committees of the Senate, Plumley said he wields considerable power, although one of the campuses, MVCC-Rome, isn’t in his district.
Plumley said the next step in the process is for the college to ‘get the architect on with it.’ The Board of County Legislators has already approved a bonding resolution authorizing the county to finance its share of the project cost.
The MVCC Board of Trustees has chosen the White Plains architectural firm of Gismondi and Arnold to complete detailed architectural drawings for the Rome portion of the project.
The college will use pre-engineered plans for a building at MVCC-Utica, and an architect will coordinate the exterior of the building with the remainder of the Utica campus.
The MVCC project consists of construction of a $2.2 million applied technology and continuing education center at MVCC-Rome, about $3 million in renovations at the Floyd Avenue-Bell Road campus, and construction of a $2.2 million dollar science and technology building at MVCC-Utica.
If the expenditure is approved by the state Legislature, a project that was at the heart of controversy in the county legislature for a year will finally become reality.
The MVCC project began as an $8.28 million proposal to expand MVCC-Rome. Legislators from Rome and Utica were at odds for months over the project in what some called a ‘zip code war,’ and supporters were unable to muster enough votes to approve the Rome project.
After months at a standstill, Plumley, the main backer of the project, proposed a plan that included construction at both campuses.
The proposal was approved unanimously by the 16-member State University Board of Trustees last November, after winning Board of County Legislators approval in October….”


(March 22, 1988, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Key county legislators question cost of new Rome campus building – Key county lawmakers have questioned Mohawk Valley Community College’s plans to spend more than $5 million on a new Continuing Education and Applied Technology building at its Rome campus rather than the $2.2 million they appropriated.
And some legislators are calling for the controversial project to be brought back to the full Board of County Legislators for review.
Meanwhile, plans for the new $5 million-plus building are being drawn and the State Education Department has approved the expenditure. …
MVCC President Michael I. Schafer said this morning the county’s architect for the project, Gismondi and Arnold of White Plains, suggested last year ‘the money would be better spent in one building’ rather than on the renovations.
Schafer said he was ‘flabbergasted’ to hear any opposition to the project now. Drawings for a 50,000-square-foot building in Rome, which will house most of the instruction space, vocational and science labs and a new photonics research lab, are expected in June. The new building would also house food service and counseling programs.
‘All of the work was presented and approved by the Board of Legislators a long time ago,’ Schafer said. ‘Why they should come up now I don’t understand.’
But legislators disagree they were ever informed of the proposed changes in how much was to be spent on the new building.
Schafer said he presented the proposal for the more expensive building for Rome at a meeting of the Education and Youth Committee of the Board of County Legislators last fall. Former Committee Chairman Angelo F. Amodio, R-28, Utica, however, said today that Schafer never presented the plans for the Rome campus at that meeting.
Amodio said Schafer had requested the meeting but only brought the plans for the new Utica campus building with him. ‘The drawings for Rome weren’t done yet,’ Amodio said.
Julian, Amodio and Board Chairman George E. Carle agreed the board’s approval last year was to appropriate $2.2 million for each of the new buildings at Rome and Utica.
‘That wasn’t the intent at all,’ Carle, R-5, Camden, said, referring to the college’s plan to spend nearly all of the appropriated money on a new building rather than on renovations.
Carle, however, said he wasn’t sure ‘if it is cast in stone’ that the money earmarked for renovations couldn’t be spent on a new building.
Whether the renovation money can be added to the cost of the new building is not of chief concern to Julian. ‘Whether it makes sense or not, I don’t know,’ he said. ‘It sounds to me like a change in the appropriation’ and the board is the appropriating body, he said.
What bothers Julian is that he was never told of the change. ‘No one has ever bothered to tell me or the chairman or anyone else,’ Julian said.
Julian and Amodio said they will ask for the project to be brought back to the board. ‘Those people deviated from what was presented to the board,’ Julian said, referring to the college’s board of trustees.
Amodio said County Executive John D. Plumley had told the board ‘both shovels would go into the ground at the same time’ and the buildings would be equal is size and cost. Plumley could not be reached for comment this morning.
‘This change questions the credibility of the board of trustees and the administration of the county,’ Amodio said. ‘Everybody knew but the board of legislators.’
‘They are duty-bound to come back to the board,’ Julian said of college officials. ‘I’d expect them to come back and the taxpayers would expect them to come back.’
‘They’re changing their word. They’re changing my word,’ Julian said…..”



(March 23, 1988, Observer-Dispatch) – “Plumley ‘shocked’ about MVCC plans – Not consulted, county executive says – Oneida County Executive John Plumley said he was not consulted about plans to double the cost of a new building proposed for Mohawk Valley Community College’s (MVCC) Rome branch campus.
Plumley said yesterday he is ‘absolutely shocked’ by the way this change has been handled, because Oneida County is the college’s sponsor….”

(March 24, 1988, Observer-Dispatch) – “MVCC trustees apologize for Rome brouhaha – Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) trustees last night decided to apologize for the college’s failure to inform the county about changes in proposed construction at the Rome campus.
The trustees also will tell the county that the new modified plan may be the best way to go, and ask the county officials how they want to proceed. Six college officials met in a hastily called meeting for about half an hour in County Executive John Plumley’s office, following their 8 p.m. meeting with the county legislators’ Education and Youth Committee. Almost all the county’s 37 legislators attended the committee meeting, to hear MVCC President Michael Schafer apologize repeatedly to the county – the college’s sponsor – for failing to communicate fully about the proposed changes.
In October 1986, Plumley and county legislators agreed on a compromise on the MVCC issue – the legislature’s most controversial issue in years. They agreed the Utica main campus and Rome branch campus would each get a $2.2 million science and technology building. In all, the Rome project would cost $5,289, 900 because there would no renovations to existing buildings and site work.
This week, Schafer said current plans call for building a science and technology building costing more than $5 million on the Rome campus, and greatly reducing the amount of renovations. The project would cost the same, he said. Last week, the county selected firms to begin constructing the Utica building, for bids totaling $1.95 million.
College trustee Anthony Garramone told legislators, and said later in the trustees’ meeting, that the trustees believed the county officials were being kept informed, by Schafer and by county public works officials.
Now that the trustees have discovered the legislators and county executive didn’t know, Garramone said, ‘What we have is a political problem.’
He said, ‘Although we’re chagrined to be in this position, we perceive this (modified proposal) to be best for this college and that should be their paramount consideration.’
Architect Bernard Arnold, of the White Plains firm of Gismondi and Arnold, told the trustees, ‘We put in eight months to get to this point.’ He said it’s a better solution than extensively renovating the Rome campus buildings. Garramone said Arnold is ‘blameless’ in this matter.
Trustees’ Vice Chairman Paul Worlock said it would be important to acknowledge the mistakes and then offer to work ‘step-by-step’ with the county executive and legislators.
Trustee Dana Higgins said it could take ‘another five or 10 years’ before the Rome campus project is straightened out.
‘Better a good project in five years than a five-legged donkey in two years,’ Trustee Eugene Madden said.
Several trustees said the county legislators approved bonding resolutions for the project which lumped the Rome project money together, without stating $2.2 million must be for a new building and $2.1 million for renovations of the Bell Road building in Rome. However, Legislator Angelo Amodio, R-28, told the trustees that legislators voted on a project with those ‘explicit’ numbers because the numbers were in the official docket signed by legislators on Ways and Means.
Comptroller Blake Ford yesterday sent a letter to Schafer, saying Ford could not approve a Rome project in which ‘nearly all the reconstruction dollars (were) shifted to the construction of the new building. He said that required approval from Plumley and county legislators….”

(March 29, 1988, Observer-Dispatch) – “Legislators stand by their MVCC plan – The top three Oneida County legislators say the county should stick to its 1986 plans for improving the Rome community college campus – and forget about a proposed $5 million building there.
The reason, they said: Legislators spent months in 1986 forging a compromise construction plan, which had the approval of Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) officials. The issue was very divisive, they said, and would again be divisive if legislators were asked to vote on the $5 million building.
In separate interviews, board Chairman George Carle, R-5; Majority Leader Robert Julian, R-21, and Minority Leader George (joe) Benner, D-34, said the political reality is that the board supports the 1986 compromise, and is unlikely to support a new proposal outlined last week by MVCC President Michael Schafer.
‘My feeling is we wrote the music (in 1986) and let’s play it like it’s written,’ Carle said.
Benner said support from 25 of the 37 legislators would be needed to adopt a new bonding resolution to change the Rome project. ‘I do not see any possible way of accomplishing the numbers (votes) to bring about what President Schafer suggested to us last week,’ he said.
‘I think, but for the compromise, there would have been noting,’ Julian said. Legislators agreed to a $2.2 million science and technology building at each campus – Rome and Utica. The compromise contained almost $5.3 million for the Rome branch campus at Floyd Avenue and Bell Road because $2,109.000 was earmarked to rehabilitate the Bell Road building, site development of $500,000 and architectural and engineering work for $480,000.
Last week, Carle and Julian sent County Executive John Plumley a brief letter, strongly urging Plumley to stick by the compromise, which was spelled out in an Oct. 3, 1986 letter from Plumley to legislators. Plumley said yesterday that he soon will reply. Recently, Plumley has said repeatedly he stands by his 1986 letter.
‘I am not going to divide or lobby the Board of Legislators,’ Plumley said yesterday.
Last Wednesday, Schafer and architect Bernard Arnold outlined a new proposal for county legislators at a meeting of the Education and Youth Committee. Arnold said the new project would remain within the approved $5,289,000, but would use $4.5 million to construct a new technology building, $410,000 for fees, $315,000 for contingencies and repairs, and $64,000 for testing, survey and clerk.
The next day Carle and Julian wrote to Plumley: ‘The original plan was passed by the board, in good faith, and with the blessings of the college. We stand by that plan and want to get on with the project. It is incomprehensible to think that a carefully conceived plan deemed practical in late 1986 should suddenly become unworkable.’
Benner said the months spent on the MVCC dispute in 1986 had been ‘a gut-wrenching, long drawn-out, very divisive’ time for the board. He said he’d like to see the Rome project on track and moving now.”

(March 30, 1988, Observer-Dispatch) – “Give new MVCC proposal good look, legislator urges – An Oneida County legislator said he colleagues would be ‘short-sighted’ if they don’t weigh a proposal to construct a $5 million building at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus.
Peter Gaige, R-9, said he doesn’t agree with legislative leaders who say the board should stick with a 1986 compromise plan… because they don’t see enough political support for the new plan….
Gaige said he originally opposed the MVCC project, partly because of its cost… Now that the state and county plan to spend that much on MVCC construction, however, ‘we should be looking for the most effective use of the money,’ Gaige said….” (Later in the day, Gaige – who represented Deerfield and Trenton – submitted his resignation because he is moving to the Albany area.)

(Observer-Dispatch, April 12, 1988) – “MVCC trustee: It’s academic in Rome – Mohawk Valley Community College needs a far different building at its Rome campus than what is planned for the Utica campus, MVCC Trustee Eugene Madden, Jr., said.
In a letter to Oneida County legislators, Madden said the two projects aren’t comparable. …”We don’t need a $2.2 million technology center in Rome,’ Madden said in his letter to legislators. ‘We need a more comprehensive academic building, far different from the situation in Utica,’… Madden defended Schafer, saying ‘he’s taken much abuse on this matter. I feel he should be complimented for his intelligent efforts to get the most for your money.’ The college trustees and president assumed the legislators’ intent was for ‘the best facilities for the money appropriated,’ Madden said.
‘The past is history. The point now is how do we proceed from here.’
‘Can’t we have an indication from your leadership that there is a consensus that the college should proceed with the construction, based on the advice of people that are knowledgeable in the fields of education and construction,’ Madden asked. ‘These buildings will be used by many generations of students long after we are all gone and forgotten.’ ”

(April 14, 1988, Observer-Dispatch) – “Julian critical of MVCC plan – Wants more spent on building repair – Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) should upgrade one of its existing buildings on the Rome campus first – before considering shifting money away from the project, Majority Leader Robert Julian, R-21, said.
College officials are now suggesting ‘an unrealistically low figure’ of about $150,000 to fix up the Rome branch campus’s Bell Road building, Julian said.
In contrast, the county legislator and County Executive John Plumley included $2.1 million to rehabilitate that Bell Road building as part of a 1986 compromise plan, he said.
Julian said he is concerned the college will seek additional money for the building or for site work later, if it tries to spend less on those categories now.
He said he welcomes a chance to meet with representatives of the MVCC trustees. However, he said he believes the legislators’ plan for the county-sponsored college ‘still makes sense today.’…”

(May 11, 1988, Observer-Dispatch) – “MVCC campus compromise forming – Oneida County and Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) officials are working on a revised plan for a construction project on the Rome campus.
A compromise is beginning to take shape, the result of an April meeting between college trustees, legislative leaders and County Executive John Plumley.
The $5.28 million project stalled in March, when county legislators discovered college trustees were planning a much different project than legislators had approved in 1986. Instead of a project that included renovations and site improvements in Rome, as well as a $2.2 million technology center, trustees and MVCC President Michael Schafer said they were planning a $5 million building.
County legislators, remembering the divisiveness of the issue two years ago, were unenthusiastic – and unwilling to renew the battle.
Now, two related developments have occurred:
- Two top Republican legislators have written the trustees saying a way exists to increase the money for the technology center to slightly less than $3 million. But Board Chairman George Carle, R-5, and Majority Leader Robert Julian, R-21, do not endorse a $5 million building.
- MVCC Board Chairman Warren Copeland said yesterday architect Bernard Arnold has been asked to draw up new plans for the Rome building, based on guidelines from county leaders….”

(September 15, 1988, Observer-Dispatch) – “MVCC Rome campus plan unveiled – Mohawk Valley Community College’s new $2.2 million science and technology center in Rome will be built with a connecting link to another building.
Construction may begin next spring, MVCC President Michael Schafer said yesterday, after he and architect Bernard Arnold briefed the Oneida County Board of Legislators on the new proposal for the Rome branch campus.
When no objections were raised, Schafer said the college will authorize Arnold to prepare preliminary drawings.
The new proposal calls for:
- $2.1 million in renovations to the Bell Road building.
- Construction of a small ‘core area’ to connect it to the new building….
- Construction of a new 28,000-square-foot science and technology center first.
The building would then be used while the Bell Road building is renovated. Its site still is to be determined, though Arnold sketched in a possible location southwest of the Bell Road building…..”

(See also “Controversies”)

(September 30, 1989, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Ceremony Monday – Local and state officials will break ground Monday for a long-planned $5.2 million building and renovation project at the Rome Campus of Mohawk Valley Community College.
The 10 a.m. ceremony will take place at the southwest corner of the College Center Building on Bell Road. Floor plans and a model of the new building will be on display in room 108 of the Academic Building.
Construction of a new 28,000-square-foot Science and Technology Building marks the first new structure at the site. It will be linked to the existing college center, which will be completely renovated.
The new and renovated space will total 56,000 square feet, and will include laboratories for students in photonics, chemistry, biology, physics, geology, arts and crafts; and vocational laboratories.
Also planned are a 100-seat lecture hall, nine classrooms, a new media center and library, faculty and administrative offices, student services offices, and a babysitting facility to serve students with small children.
The total project will cost $5.2 million, shared equally by Oneida County and the state Dormitory Authority, bonding agency for the State University of New York Construction Fund.
The construction will cost approximately $2.2 million, while renovations to the existing building are estimated at $1.9 million.
Remaining costs are for site development, architectural and engineering work. Bernard S. Arnold, of the White Plains firm of Gismondi & Arnold, is the project architect.
Bids on the project will be let this winter, and major construction will begin next spring. The college expects to move into the new and renovated facilities by the summer of 1991.
The college center is now being cleared of asbestos so some MVCC Rome classes are meeting at Staley Junior High School.
About 1,500 students attend classes at the local campus.
The existing buildings date from 1935, and were part of the Oneida County Home, a residence for the poor. MVCC began offering courses in Rome in 1954, at Staley, and shortly afterward at Griffiss Air Force Base. The college renovated and began using the current Academic Building in 1974, and moved additional operations into the College Center Building in 1982.
The county owns 63 acres near Griffiss Air Force Base, between the Mohawk River and Bell Road where the two-year community college is located. MVCC’s main campus is in east Utica, near the Herkimer County border.


(October 2, 1989, Utica Observer-Dispatch) – “Ceremony today at MVCC in Rome – Groundbreaking ceremonies for a new Science and Technology building at Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus on Bell Road will be at 10 a.m. today.
The new building will be placed next to the Campus Center, which is being renovated as part of the $5.2 million project.
The project is the second major undertaking for MVCC in recent years: A similar science building is being built at the Utica campus. Changes in the project drew protests from the Oneida County Board of Legislators because the board did nit first approved the altered design. Legislators also were concerned the two new technology centers be of equal size.
During construction and renovation work, classes will be moved to Staley Junior High School in Rome. College officials originally planned to use other campus buildings during construction, but changed plans when asbestos was found in the Bell Road building. Officials decided to complete the entire project at the same time.
Among those participating in the ceremonies will be Oneida County Executive John Plumley, MVCC Board of Trustees Chairman N. Joseph Yagey, MVCC President Michael Schafer, State Regent Emlyn Griffith, Rome Mayor Carl Eilenberg, Col. Ronald Marcotte, deputy commander for operations at Griffiss Air Force Base and others.”

(October 2, 1989, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Banner day for MVCC as work begins on $5.2 million Rome campus expansion – Construction began today for a new Science and Technology Building at the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College on upper Floyd Avenue.
County Executive John D. Plumley termed the ceremony ‘one of the greatest events to happen in central New York for a long while.’ The renovated and expanded campus, he said, is ‘truly a regional campus, that will not only serve western Oneida County residents’ but western Oswego and southern Lewis Counties as well.
‘The photonics program that will develop here,’ Plumley said, ‘will play a major role in the development of photonics in the nation and the world.’ But, he added, ‘what I enjoy seeing here is the person coming back to the work force. The housewife coming to get trained to re-enter the work force and the man who didn’t complete his education. These are the most important people the campus is here for.’
About 50 political and education officials were in high spirits this gray, drizzly morning as the college, county and state launched a long-planned $5.2 million building and renovation project at the Bell Road site at 10 a.m.
College President Michael I. Schafer said the groundbreaking marked the college’s ‘entry into the future with an exciting learning environment.’ The renovated and new facilities will serve as a center for new science cirricula like photonics, teleconferencing and satellite communications, as well as developing the new food service and restaurant management course.
A huge all-terrain digger twice sliced into the sod, depositing two loads of rich, black dirt about five feet from where the dignitaries stood under a canvas canopy. The high-tech, $100,000 machine is owned by the county, and was manned by Department of Public Works employees Patrick M. Dunn and Wayne Rogers.
The demonstration was followed by a more traditional groundbreaking rite, with County Executive John D. Plumley and MVCC student-body President Jill Hinman turning the earth with gold-painted shovels.
Miss Hinman, a student from Sauquoit, is a second-year student in the restaurant management program. She was excited about plans to expand the Rome campus, because, she said, ‘the Rome Campus is not really well-known. The facilities don’t do justice to the teachers and the programs here.’…”

(B.S. McCarey of Rome was general contractor. Schmalz Mechanical Contractors of Utica was the mechanical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor, Rome Utica Mechanical Contractors of Whitesboro had the plumbing and fire protection contract and Casatelli Electric Inc of Utica was the electrical contractor.)


(October 3, 1989, Utica Observer-Dispatch) – “MVCC on way to ‘21st century’ – Schafer: Building ‘symbolizes commitment to Rome, area’ – Overcast skies yesterday during groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Mohawk Valley Community College science and technology center in Rome may have been appropriate for the project’s past, but not for its present.
MVCC College President Michael Schafer said at times there ‘seemed to be a great cloud over this project.’ But the ceremonies were about the future of the Rome campus, not its past, he said. The $5.2 million project ‘symbolizes our commitment to Rome and the surrounding area.’
A 28,000 square foot science and technology building will be built adjacent to the College Center on Bell Road. The College Center also will be renovated. The project means ‘we will have facilities and classrooms to carry us into the 21st century,’ Schafer said.
The cost will be split by the county and the New York state Dormitory Authority.
The project was the center of several controversies. Some county legislators questioned the need for the new building and later objected to the selection of a downstate architect for the project. Proposed changes that would have put more money into the new building and less into renovations also drew fire and were withdrawn.
County Executive John Plumley said the campus ‘is truly a regional facility. Don’t think it’s a campus that’s dedicated to one particular city.’
The ground was broken – ‘the way they do in the 20th century,’ Plumley said – by a new county backhoe.
Also present was Jill Hinman, president of the MVCC Student Congress and a student at the Rome campus. ‘The Rome campus isn’t really known to students,’ she said. ‘The facilities don’t do justice to the quality of education we have here.’ The project will change that, she said.
The Rome campus now has 1,500 students. No increase in enrollment is planned when the new facilities are open in spring, 1991, Schafer said.”

In August, 1990, contracts were awarded to four Oneida County firms for a $5.2 million capital improvement and construction project at the MVCC Rome Campus. A new Science & Technology Building (Later named the Plumley* Science & Technology Complex) was to be constructed, and the existing College Center Building adjacent to Bell Road, would be totally renovated to house 10 general purpose classrooms, locker rooms, a student lounge and library, and a variety of student services offices. A completed new 24,000 square foot building was also constructed, containing a 100-seat lecture hall, and laboratory areas for students in photonics, chemistry, biology, geology, physics, carpentry and masonry. The two structures were to be connected by an atrium.
The B.S. McCarey construction firm of Rome was general contractor. Subcontractors included Schmalz Mechanical Contractors of Utica: heating, ventilation and air conditioning; Rome-Utica Mechanical Contractors of Whitesboro: plumbing; and Casatelli Electric, Inc., of Utica: electrical work. The complex was designed by the architectural firm of Gismondi & Arnold of White Plains. Michael B. Sewall was dean of the Rome Campus at the time.(*John D. “Jack” Plumley took office as Oneida County’s sixth County Executive January 3, 1983, having received the unanimous and bipartisan endorsement from the Board of Legislators to serve until the end of 1983, as provided in the Oneida County Charter. He was elected to his first full four-year term in November 1983, and was re-elected in 1987, serving until his resignation in January 1991. He began his political career in 1956 as Vice Mayor of the Village of Camden, a position in which he served until 1962. From 1968 to 1980, he served as a county legislator, representing the 5th Legislative District7. During this time, he took an active and leading role in various committees, which included: Chairman of the Board of Legislators in 1978 and 1979, Majority Leader in 1976 and 1977, member of the Ways and means Committee for 10 years, member of the Board of Acquisition and Contract for five years. In January 1980 he was appointed Commissioner of Public Works and during this time he served, on occasion, as interim County Executive. He was a native of Camden, NY, where he was a well established businessman. Beginning in 1944, he had been engaged in a family hardware store operation. He also established a residential and commercial construction firm. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War. (August 1990)


(Dec. 4, 1990 – Communitas) – Construction Proceeding at MVCC Rome Campus – A new 28,000-square-foot Science & Technology Building is taking shape on the Rome Campus of Mohawk Valley Community College on Floyd Avenue. Next door, the campus’ College Center is undergoing a total renovation. Completion of the combined $5.2 million project is scheduled for next fall.
The new Science and Technology Building will include classrooms, a 100-seat lecture hall, laboratories and offices. Also in the project are locker rooms and a student lounge.
Initial work, gutting the 50-year-old College Center Building, and asbestos removal, began last winter. Excavation got underway during the summer, with concrete and steel work following during the fall months. During the construction, a number of classes have been moved to Staley Junior High School.
MVCC has been using the College Center Building since 1982. The college acquired the nearby Academic Building in 1974. Both were formerly part of the Oneida County Home.
Approximately 1,500 full-time and part-time students take classes through the MVCC Rome Campus, including many from Griffiss Air Force Base, where the college also maintains an office. MVCC programs available in their entirety at Rome include accounting, business administration, criminal justice, food service, general studies, individual studies, liberal arts and sciences, nutrition and dietetics, restaurant management, and office technologies options in word processing and executive office assistant. It is also possible to take first-year degree courses in banking and insurance, data processing, human services, and retail business management. Certificate programs offered at MVCC’s Rome Campus include chef training, carpentry and masonry, and appliance repair/refrigeration/air conditioning.
Rome’s B.S. McCarey firm is general contractor for the construction-renovation project. Other firms involved ate Schlamz Mechanical Contractors, Utica, heating, ventilation and air conditioning; Rome-Utica Mechanical Contractors, Whitesboro, plumbing; and Casatelli Electric, Inc., Utica, electrical.

The MVCC Foundation kicked off its first capital campaign in February 1991, with a goal of raising $300,000 to help equip and furnish a new Science & Technology Building, then under construction on the College’s Rome Campus. The first gift in the campaign, a $7.500 check, came from the Rome College Foundation. (February 1991)
In April 1992, the Rome Rotary Club contributed $7,500 to help equip a carpentry lab; this was part of the $300,000 capital campaign.


(March 13, 1991, Utica Observer-Dispatch) – “Rome MVCC honors ex-county exec – Building to bear Plumley’s name – The Board of Trustees of Mohawk Valley Community College yesterday named the science and technology building under construction at its Rome campus in honor of former County Executive John Plumley of Camden.
College president Michael Schafer said the action recognizes not only Plumley’s leadership in winning state and county funding for the $5 million-plus renovation and construction of the building, but his long-time efforts to sustain the college’s Rome branch.
Former board chairman David Mathis said even when debate was most heated over the new building, ‘There was no doubt we were going to build this in Rome because Plumley was committed to it.’
Current chairman N. Joseph Yagey said Plumley’s name was presented by the board for consideration ‘unanimously…and very enthusiastically.’
Plumley said the dedication came as a surprise.
‘My first feeling was disbelief,’ he said. ‘The second was that this is the most humbling experience I will ever have, and the third was I am just plain happy.’
He said that as the father of seven children, he realized that MVCC makes a college education more accessible to the residents of the county.
In fact, five of his children graduated from MVCC. He said four went on to earn degrees from four-year schools, ‘but the fundamental strength of their education started at MVCC.’
‘That would have been reward enough, he said, so the dedication of the science and technology building is especially gratifying.
As for his role in the debates over the Rome campus and the new building, Plumley said, ‘Anything worthwhile is worthy of differences and public debate.’ He said his only advice to county legislators was to debate it ‘like gentlemen.’
The Plumley building will house the school’s photonics center, another project supported by the former county executive. MVCC is the first community college in the nation to offer a degree in photonics, a new technology using light, rather than electric impulses, to transmit and store information.
The 28,000-square-foot structure also will include laboratories for students in chemistry, biology, physics, geology, vocational and arts and crafts courses, a 100-seat lecture hall, nine classrooms, a media center and library, faculty and administrative offices and a child-care facility.
Plumley also promised yesterday to use the many contacts he has made during his 23 years in political office to encourage donations to a $300,000 fundraising campaign to equip and furnish the new facility.”

(Excerpt from College news release, March 12, 1991) – “…Plumley, a Camden resident, served as an Oneida County official in various capacities for 23 years. From 1968 to 1980 he served as a county legislator representing the 5th legislative district. He served as board chairman in 1978 and 1979, and as majority leader in 1976 and 1977. He was a member of the Ways and Means Committee for 10 years, and of the Board of Acquisition and Contract for five years. In January 1980, Plumley was appointed commissioner of public works and during this time he served, on occasion, as interim county executive. … He served as county executive from January 1983 to January 1991. … Before entering county government, he served as vice mayor of the Village of Camden from 1956 to 1962….”)

(March 22, 1991, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Utica legislator wants county to halt Rome campus work – A county legislator from Utica wants to halt construction of the John D. Plumley Science and Technology Complex on the Rome campus of Mohawk Valley Community College.
Steven A. Gigliotti, R-26, Utica, in a letter to the MVCC Board of Trustees dated March 20, wrote that construction should be stopped because of the state’s financial mess, and because og his concerns about the county’s and MVCC’s budget.
Gigliotti suggested work be discontinued ‘until such time as it takes the state of New York to get its house in order.’
The $5.2 million project is scheduled to be completed by late summer for the beginning of the 1991-92 school year. Work on the project began in October 1989.
‘In 1986 I said that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money which we could not support, and I am sorry to say that I was right. We can’t support it,’ Gigliotti wrote in the letter to Trustees Chairman Joseph Yagey.
‘My feeling has been that one of the reasons Oneida County has a budget problem is the Rome Campus, plus other duplications like the court facilities and county departments all located in Rome,’ Gigliotti wrote.
County Executive Raymond A. Meier today said Gigliotti’s suggestion to stop work was ‘ludicrous’ and would be ‘extremely wasteful.’
‘He can’t be serious. Mr. Gigliotti knows better than to think you can stop a major capital project at this point and save money,’ Meier said. ‘What does he propose we do with the money we’ve spent? Leave a half finished building sitting there?’
‘The Rome MVCC campus has historically more than paid its own way,’ Meier said in defense of the campus.
Meier also defended other county services in the city which Gigliotti’s letter attacked. ‘If I close county court and the other county offices in Rome, where would he like me to put those people?’ Meier asked about the residents the Rome offices service.
He says it’s a duplication of services. Some of it is a way of effective distribution and delivery of the services,’ the county executive said. ‘It’s not a political plum. It’s so we can deliver services at the other population center in the county, Rome, and in a place more centrally located.’…”


On October 11th, 1991, the John D. Plumley Science and Technology Complex was dedicated. This building combined a renovation of the former College Center building on Bell Road with a newly constructed structure, connected by a central atrium. The Plumley Complex had a total of 68,930 square feet and included general purpose classrooms, a two-way interactive video/data/audio distance learning classroom, library, lecture hall with satellite down-link capabilities, and fully-equipped science and vocational laboratories. A former building located next to Bell Road, known as the College Center building, was totally renovated to create 10 general purpose classrooms, locker rooms, a student lounge and library, and an array of student services offices, including Counseling, Registrar and Business Office. A new 24,000-square-foot building was also erected. It included a 100-seat lecture hall, and laboratory areas for students in photonics, chemistry, biology, geology, physics, carpentry and masonry. The B.S. McCarey construction firm of Rome was general contractor. Other firms involved included Schmalz Mechanical Contractors of Utica: heating, ventilation and air conditioning; Rome-Utica Mechanical Contractors of Whitesboro: plumbing; and Casatelli Electric, Inc., of Utica: electrical work. The complex was designed by the architectural firm of Gismondi & Arnold of White Plains. The project’s cost, shared by Oneida County and New York State, was $5.2 million.

John D. Plumley, of Camden, was a former County Executive, taking office as the sixth County Executive on January 3, 1983. He began his political career in 1956 as Vice Mayor of the Village of Camden, a position in which he served until 1962. From 1968 to 1980, he served as a county legislator representing the 5th Legislative District. He served as Chairman of the Board of Legislators in 1978 and 1979, Majority Leader in 1976 and 1977, a member of the Ways and Means Committee for 10 years, and as a member of the Board of Acquisition and Contract for five years. In January 1980 he was appointed Commission of Public Works, and during this time he served on occasion as interim County Executive. He was a resident of Camden, NY. Since 1944 he had been engaged in operating a family hardware store, Carpenter’s Hardware. In 1959 he established a real estate business. He had also established a residential and commercial construction firm. He served in the Army during the Korean War.

President Schafer served as master of ceremonies at the dedication. Chairman Anthony J. Garramone spoke on behalf of the Board of Trustees. Other speakers included Oneida County Executive Raymond A. Meier; Robert Julian, Majority Leader of the Oneida County Board of Legislators; Harry A. Hertline, Minority Leader of the Oneida County Board of Legislators, and Neil C. Angell, Chairmen of the Education & Youth Committee, Oneida County Board of Legislators. Michael Sewall was dean of the Rome Campus at the time of this building construction and dedication.


1992

In 1992, the Hospitality Programs Dining Rooms in the 30,004 square foot Rome Campus Academic Building were renovated through a grant from the Statler Foundation.
In 1993, a fitness center was opened in the Plumley Complex to assist students in meeting physical education requirements for graduation. In 1994, a demonstration kitchen/laboratory was opened in the Plumley Complex for the Hospitality Programs.

1995

(March 15, 1995, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “MVCC won’t quarrel with county over club – A proposal for Mohawk Valley Community College to take over the Mohawk Glen Club at Griffiss Air Force Base will not be approved by the college’s Board of Trustees until county officials first give the plan their OK.
Not wanting to get into a power struggle as they did in the 1980s while trying to expand the Rome campus, the MVCC Board of Trustees Tuesday directed President Michael I. Schafer to wait until the county approved the plan for the club before moving forward.
Schafer has proposed the building- which cost $7.2 million to build and $800,000 to furnish three years ago – be used by the college to enhance its hospitality program, and its non-credit corporate and community programs.
Some county lawmakers, most notably Board of Legislators Majority Leader Robert F. Julian, have balked at Schafer’s plan.
Trustees told Schafer they wouldn’t approve any plan until the legislature agreed with it, even if it meant losing the restaurant equipment inside the building which the college covets.
‘If you said to me right now, ‘Let’s do this,’ I’d say, ‘No,’ trustee David Mathis told Schafer. ‘I would say to you, ‘Let them dump the building, because I don’t want to get hung out there.’
Mathis was chairman of the trustees in the 1980s, when the trustees approved an expansion of the Rome campus, before county officials agreed to it. This led to many struggles between trustees and legislators.
Trustee Anthony J. Garramone agreed with Mathis. ‘I want the 10th floor to approve it, then I’ll approve it,’ he said. ‘If they want to do it, fine, I’ll do it.’ The 10th floor is where the Board of Legislators and county executive are headquartered in the County Office Building.
‘Until they say they want the building, it’s not even worth talking about. And I haven’t heard anyone say they want it,’ Garramone, a Utica City Court Judge, said referring to county officials. ‘It needs the sponsor’s enthusiasm and cooperation.’
‘We can’t do this without the support of the county,’ added Mathis, who heads the county’s Employment and Training program.
Sister Rose Vincent, a trustee, said the trustees should tell legislators, ‘If we have your support we can do a lot with it. If we don’t have your support, we’re not going to go out on a limb.’
Some trustees said they would rather see the Air Force go ahead and strip the building, leaving only a shell, rather than fight the county for its support of the college using the club.
‘I think it would be a great thing for the college,’ said trustee Mary-Carmel Adey of Rome. ‘But maybe we should let them gut the building and give it to the county, and he county will be stuck with an empty building. Maybe then they’d be more supportive.’
That may not be a problem for Julian, who believes the building can be used by the private sector for something other than a restaurant.
Schafer has said studies have shown the private sector could not make a restaurant or banquet center in the building profitable.
But Julian, a Utica Republican, said today, ‘There was not a careful examination of that facility to see if it could be used for non-restaurant, non-banquet purposes. On that basis along, while I favor the county doing all it needs to do to secure interest in that building, I think we ought to make a very serious and good faith effort to market the building.’
Julian said he could see the building used for offices or light manufacturing. ‘The potential use of the building should not be limited to restaurants or banquets,’ he said. ‘MVCC is at best Plan B or Plan C for that building. It is not Plan A.’
County Executive Raymond A. Meier has expressed financial concerns about the college’s plan. ‘I want to see how this becomes a self-supporting program,’ he said today. ‘They’ve got some work to do before anybody approves anything.’
The club is on a 240-acre tract which the county donated to the Air Force in the 1940s. The land has a reverter clause calling for the Air Force to give the land back to the county when the Air Force no longer needs it. That is expected to be later this year, when the Griffiss realignment is complete.
Along with the land, the county will get improvements made to the land, such as the club. But to get the equipment and furnishings inside the club, other steps have to be taken. The county is currently negotiating with the Air Force to acquire that equipment, according to Meier. ‘It makes sense for us to acquire the furnishings and equipment,’ he said.
But this doesn’t mean the building or its equipment will go to MVCC, he said.
On Tuesday, Schafer suggested to the trustees that if the Glen Club is acquired by the college, the Academic Building on the Floyd Avenue campus would be closed.”

(December 16, 1995, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “Legislator prefers private solution for base’s club – A powerful county legislator wants to make sure there are no private-sector, job-creating, tax-collecting possibilities for the Mohawk Glen Club before he allows Mohawk Valley Community College to take over the facility.
Robert F. Julian, majority leader of the Board of Legislators, made is feelings known in no uncertain terms during a two-hour meeting of two board committees looking into the MVCC proposal Wednesday afternoon.
‘This entire body is concerned about sending the wrong signal in terms of how we use that base,’ Julian, a Utica Republican, told college president Michael I. Schafer. ‘If there is a commercial tax-garnering use that can be achieved at that base, we would prefer that.’
Schafer wants the college to use the facility for its hospitality program. The club sits on land the county donated to the Air Force, and which will be returned to the county under a reverter clause. The club is about 400 yards from MVCC’s Floyd Avenue campus, where its hospitality program is based.
‘If there is something that can be marketed privately there, I think everybody agrees we ought to do that,’ Julian said. ‘It appears amenable to me for office space as well as other functions. I may be wrong.’
‘If there was a private use for this facility, I’d be the first in line to say that’s a better use,’ Schafer told Julian.
A base reuse master plan prepared last year said the MVCC proposal to use the Mohawk Glen Club was a compatible use. Operating the club as a private banquet facility was not economically feasible, and hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space is available elsewhere on base, the report said.
‘Looking through all the issues, an educational use does make the most sense,’ Steven J. DiMeo, executive director of the Griffiss Local Development Corp., said today.
When the land reverts to the county, the building does along with it free of charge, but the equipment inside will have to be purchased. Schafer said the Air Force agreed to a price range of $65,000 to $100,000 for the equipment. Purchased new, the equipment – from dining room tables to commercial ovens- could cost $3 million.
‘The Wing needs to know by Feb. 28 whether or not this is property the county wishes to own,’ DiMeo said. He said if the county indicates an interest in the equipment, it will preserve its right to the equipment, but not commit to buying it.
Schafer said that if interest is not shown, ‘Every piece of equipment of value will be removed from the facility and either shipped to Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina where they are building a new officers club, or put in a warehouse. There will be plywood put on the windows, the pipes will be drained, the electricity will be turned off.
‘It will include everything down to the carpeting, the chandeliers, the sound system, the smoke eaters built into the ceiling. It’s all going to be physically removed. What you’d end up with instead of a state of the art convention center, you’d end up with a shell,’ he said.
While Julian took the spotlight during the meeting, other legislators backed up the college’s idea.
‘My impression… is that the community has begun to warm to the college’s participation,’ in the reuse of the base, said Rome legislator Peter A. Pascucci.
County Executive Raymond A. Meier said he supports the MVCC plan, ‘If it’s something the college can sustain without a subsidy. Something I’ve told Mike is that it’s gt to be self-sustaining,’ Meier said.
‘I think it’s an interesting proposal, but now I think there are some unanswered questions,’ Meier said. Those questions relate to the proposed state budget, which would cut about $800,000 in aid to the college, as well as financial aid to students.
‘I don’t know what the budget does to enrollment,’ Meier said.
Schafer said the hospitality program would break even using the Glen Club, though it would be done after three custodial positions are added.
The hospitality program, with 65 full-time students, is run from the basement of the Academic Building on the Floyd Avenue campus. The building was part of the former county home, which was constructed by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression.
‘In a worst-case scenario, it’s cheaper and better to run this building than it is the 60-year old WPA hospital building,’ Schafer said.
‘There is an incredibly beautiful state-of-the-art facility consistent with our mission and purposes, that in the worst-case scenario – we shut down the academic building and run it – it’s a win-win situation,’ he told legislators.
‘If you accept it for educational purposes and then change your mind in July and say, ‘Schafer, it’s not going to be MVCC’s,’ you’re still ahead,’ he added.
Schafer said he envisions using about one-third of the building for the hospitality program, and the rest for MVCC’s Corporate and Community Programs. These non-credit courses are self-supporting, and serve about 500 people each year, he said. ‘The size of the program is limited by our space,’ Schafer said.
The college’s master plan includes new space for the program on the Utica campus.
Wednesday’s joint meeting of the board’s Ways and Means and Education and Youth committees was called after legislators started hearing reports of MVCC’s plans, and felt they were being left out of the discussion.
Schafer apologized for the communications gap, and said nothing had been presented to legislators because the college’s board of trustees had not acted yet. The board has ‘not made a formal decision yet to ask you to endorse a plan for the use of the Mohawk Glen Club as an educational facility,’ Schafer said.”


2003

(January 14, 2003, Rome Daily Sentinel) – “County maps future of MVCC-Rome Campus – Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus will be given a thorough going-over shortly as an architect draws up a plan for its future growth and improvements.
The focus of the review ill be to assess the adequacy of the existing facilities.
A resolution to hire an architect to conduct the study is on the agenda for Wednesday’s Board of Legislators’ meeting. Lawmakers are expected to hire Alesia & Crewell Architects in New Hartford for $118,750 to prepare a master plan for the Rome campus….(and to study the College’s needs in the area of athletic facilities). Half of the nearly $120,000 bill would be paid by the state….
Tasks to be done by Alesia & Crewell (re the Rome campus) include:
- Survey existing building conditions and evaluate campus grounds and landscaping for the development of a long-term maintenance plan.
- Evaluate the appropriateness of renovation or new construction of the Academic Building. If renovation is recommended, the architects will draw up a summary of recommended improvements and cost estimates.
- Address suitability of the present location of the hospitality program.
- Review whether the location of the carpentry and masonry program is a good fit for the Rome campus or should an alternate site, like the Utica campus, be considered.
- Study building traffic flow and handicap accessibility….”

2005
The Nursing curriculum was expanded to the Rome Campus in Fall 2005 (announced July 12th) under an agreement with Rome Memorial Hospital. The expansion, to accommodate up to 50 students, was designed to assist the Hospital in meeting an ongoing shortage of nurses. Renovations to create a nursing lab cost the College approximately $25,000. The Hospital contributed $162,000, to be paid over five years, to fund one of the program’s instructors (July 2005)

2006


(STUDY OF ROME CAMPUS CONDUCTED BY SUNY AT REQUEST OF MVCC):

March 17, 2006

Mr. Michael C. Austin, Chair
Rome Campus Study Committee
Mohawk Valley Community College
Board of Trustees
1101 Sherman Drive
Utica, N.Y. 13501-5394

Dear Michael:

Enclosed please find the Rome Campus Study Report completed by the SUNY System Administration Rome Campus Study Committee. It includes a report that contains a summary of our study findings, a description of alternative courses of action, and operational recommendations. We have also included our detailed Report of Findings based on our analyses of all data provided and a site visit to the campus. Finally, appended for your reference are our source documents.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you, your Board and the College in this worthwhile project. We hope our report is useful to you and leads to positive outcomes.

Sincerely,



Denise S. Bukovan
Asst. Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges
SUNY Rome Study Committee Chair

cc: Michael Schafer
George Anker
James Dewar
Patricia Pietropaolo
Robert Brown



ROME CAMPUS STUDY

SUNY SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION
ROME CAMPUS STUDY COMMITTEE

REPORT
ROME CAMPUS STUDY
SUNY SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION
ROME CAMPUS STUDY COMMITTEE
REPORT

Background

In the early Fall of 2005, Michael Schafer, President of Mohawk Valley Community College, inquired of the Vice Chancellor of Community Colleges regarding the availability of SUNY consultants to assist the college’s Board of Trustees’ Rome Study Committee with a study of Mohawk Valley’s Rome branch campus. The study would examine programs, enrollments, finances and facilities in an effort to provide the board with information about the status of the campus and insights into possible future courses of action regarding the campus.

A study committee was formed consisting of George Anker of the SUNY Budget and Finance Office, James Dewar of the SUNY Construction Fund, Patricia Pietropaolo of the SUNY Provost’s Office, and Denise Bukovan of the Office of Community Colleges (chair). Each of these individuals is a liaison to community colleges and an expert in community college matters in their respective area of responsibility.

In October, the committee chair traveled to Utica for a meeting with the Board of Trustees Rome Study Committee, chaired by Michael C. Austin. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and clarify the purpose of the study, the scope of the study and the study process. These were agreed upon at that meeting and served to inform the SUNY study team.

The college was requested to generate data and a report in answer to questions regarding programs, finances, students, and facilities, as follows:
General:
• What is the historical context behind the creation of the Rome branch campus?
Programs:
• What academic programs are currently offered?
• Which of these programs are offered only at the Rome campus? Which duplicate Utica programs?
• What is the range of course offerings? Day? Evening?
• What is the regional and Rome-area occupational and program demand?
• What are the areas of potential new program opportunity?
• Have any studies of the market demand been conducted? Results? Community needs? Student needs?
• If programs were to be added, what resources, faculty, support staff and facilities would be needed?
• What are the non-credit program offerings and enrollments?
Finances:
• Provide the most recent financial statements, including all operating and indirect costs and all revenues (including tuition, local share and state aid)
Students:
• What is the profile of the student body attending credit programs at the Rome campus? Age? Ethnicity? Special populations? Full-time versus part-time? Graduation rate?
• What is the ten-year enrollment history at the campus (headcount and FTE)?
• What percent are matriculated in programs? What programs are the students enrolled in?
• What is the average class size at the campus?
• What percent of students attend the Rome campus only? Both campuses?
• What localities do the students come from? What percentage is within ten miles of the Rome campus? What percentage is within ten miles of the Utica campus?
Facilities:
• What are the Rome campus facilities needs and issues?
• What is the capacity of the Utica campus? How close to capacity are its current enrollments? What are the enrollment plans of the Utica campus over the next five to ten years (expand, maintain, etc.
Other:
• What is the projected future of the SUNY IT relationship and how might this affect demand for lower division courses at the Rome campus?

The college staff generated a detailed report, including data, in response to the questions. During the course of the study, additional questions for purposes of elaboration and clarification were generated and answered. In addition, SUNY system data and reports on enrollments, finances and facilities were also accessed and incorporated into the study. What resulted was a thorough compendium of data and resource documents on the Rome campus that guided and informed the study.

The process involved three main parts. First, the SUNY committee reviewed and analyzed all reports and sources of data and drew preliminary conclusions. Second, the committee traveled to Rome where it toured the facilities and met with the Board committee, President Schafer and key staff and discussed preliminary findings. Finally, the committee re-convened to complete its analysis, summarize its findings and develop potential courses of actions as well as operational recommendations. This culminated in the issuance of this Report to the Mohawk Valley Board of Trustees Rome Study Committee.


Summary of Findings

As a result of its comprehensive study, the Committee came to the following main conclusions:

• The Rome campus is a vital part of Mohawk Valley Community College, programmatically, financially and politically
• The Rome campus lacks a clear mission, “niche” identity and strategic plan
• The Rome campus lacks a formal marketing study and plan
• There are important market opportunities in western and northern Oneida County, northern Madison county and the expansion of the Griffiss Business and Technology Park
• There are issues as to how the Rome campus is viewed and understood by the faculty, staff, administration and students on the main campus
• The Rome campus has shown a significant and steady decline in enrollments over the past ten years
• According to students, the Rome campus does not provide sufficient course offerings or at the optimum schedule to meet students’ needs
• While the campus offers significant numbers of programs, the majority of these have low enrollments. It appears that the campus may be trying to be comprehensive, all things to all people, without the resources to do so. This may be leading to a dilution of offerings, the result of which is insufficient offerings across the board to meet the majority of student needs.
• Rome headcount and FTE enrollments contribute a significant percentage of overall MVCC headcount and FTE enrollments and are valuable as such
• The majority of Rome students live in the immediate Rome area; it is unknown whether these students would be willing to travel to the Utica campus if it was their only option. The county would pay chargebacks for students that attend other community colleges.
• Despite declining enrollments, Rome continues to produce a significant surplus, though that surplus is also declining
• The Rome campus has critical facilities needs, particularly the need for new space to replace its aged out and deteriorating Academic Building, preferably by adding on to the existing Plumley Building, according to its Master Plan. The master plan projects have not yet been funded by the county
• If there were no Rome campus, the Utica campus, already operating at full capacity, would need to absorb the not insignificant Rome enrollments (though it is assumed that the college would lose some students.) This may involve the need to build a new academic facility at a major cost
• Any savings (increased net revenues over existing operation) that might be effected by any Rome campus closing are estimated to be very minor
• MVCC and the Rome campus are making important efforts to reverse the decline and improve the campus, its programs and services. Much progress has been made recently. However it is too soon to see the concrete results of these efforts.

It is obvious to the SUNY Rome Campus Study Committee that
1) The Rome campus makes important contributions to MVCC, in enrollments and financially
2) There are critical issues facing the Rome campus, particularly enrollments and facilities
3) There is significant market and operational potential for the Rome campus

In light of the circumstances, there are several alternative courses of action that the Board might contemplate.

Alternative Courses of Action

  • NOT listed in order of priority

1) Close down the campus and move programs and students to Utica campus
• In calculating the pros and cons, it is difficult to know to what degree Rome students would be lost or to what extent they would be willing to travel to the Utica campus. However, the study team made the reasonable assumption that 20% to 30% of the students would be lost and 70% to 80% would go to Utica.

a. Pros
• Potential cost savings. However, because of lost tuition and state aid revenues and the continued costs of educating the majority of Rome students in Utica, the savings (additional surplus) generated by reduced administrative, services and adjunct costs may be insignificant
• Revenues from sale of facilities
• Elimination of administrative challenges
• Concentration of effort and resources on the Utica campus
b. Cons
• Lost Rome programs
• Political costs
• Lost economic impact in the Rome area
• Lost opportunities for students
• Lost opportunities for community and economic development, especially for Griffiss
• Reduced access for the general population and industry
• Continued costs of facilities debt service and maintenance with no income
• Lack of space/need for and cost of new academic facility in Utica
• Lost students; some would go to other community colleges, necessitating payment of chargebacks to other counties

2) Re-organize and “right-size” the campus
• In this option, the college would reduce the number of programs to produce a focus on general education and high demand programs, and would tear down the Academic Building and barn and utilize Plumley to its full capacity

a. Pros
• Space and programs would be aligned
• Maximizes use of facilities and resources
• Increases efficiency
• Creates a focus for the campus
• Generates economies of scale
• May lead to increased enrollments
• Addresses the most urgent instructional needs
b. Cons
• Does not serve comprehensive needs of the service area or students
• Lost program opportunities
• Limited offerings for students
• Ignores overall Master Plan and facilities issues
• Less economic impact
• Less community and economic development impact


3) Do nothing – maintain the status quo

a. Pros
• Requires no new investment
• Maintains political balance
• Continues comprehensiveness
b. Cons
• Enrollments and surpluses continue to decline, costs increase
• Ignores the stewardship responsibility of the Board
• Does not effectively serve the needs of students or the region
• Facilities continue to decline

4) Improve current operations
• In this option, the college would implement a marketing plan, a strategic plan, expanded course offerings and improved facilities (implementation of the current Master Plan)

a. Pros
• Increased enrollments
• More effectively meeting student and community needs
• Increased access to program opportunities
• Increased revenues and surpluses
• Improved facilities
• Space for program improvement
b. Cons
• Does not provide for future program opportunities and expansion
• No additional space planned for expansion
• Cost of investment in program and facilities improvements

5) Expand the campus, its programs and operations
• In this option, the college would actively pursue and implement new academic programs and services as identified in the campus report. In addition, the Rome Master Plan would be amended to accommodate plans for expansion

a. Pros
• Provides options and space for MVCC expansion
• Serves all MVCC and Rome communities and missions; benefits the whole college
• Provides expanded access
• Increases community and economic development programs
• Opportunity to increase high school yield (RFA)
• Opportunities for co-op programs w/ Griffiss and other enterprises
• Increased enrollments and revenues
b. Cons
• Cost of investment (short-term costs vs. long-term benefit)
• Politics – Rome vs. Utica could prevent success
• Space limitations – look into Griffiss sites

Operational Recommendations

While the study committee does NOT espouse any particular course of action per se, it did develop a set of operational recommendations during the course of its study and observations. These recommendations would be intended to improve the current Rome campus operation. Some of these strategies are already in process.

• Develop a focused mission, vision, market niche, and identity that are unique to the Rome campus. Develop and implement a strategic plan to support these

• Continue to implement current plans to improve programs, services and operations

• Develop and implement strategies to increase enrollment:
o Study current and prospective student course and scheduling needs
o Expand course offerings and schedule to meet those needs (including expanding summer offerings)
o Conduct a formal student and occupational market study for the Rome area. Focus on the demand for existing and new proposed programs
o Develop and implement a formal marketing plan, especially targeting the western Oneida Co. and northern Madison Co. populations

• Negotiate with the county for phased-in funding of the Rome facilities Master Plan. Re-visit the Master Plan to determine if it is sufficient to support future plans for growth. At a minimum, attention needs to be given to the external appearance of the campus and to improving the instructional space.

• Continue to cultivate understanding of and support for the Rome campus among MVCC faculty, staff, administrators and students

• Expand student services on the Rome campus (e.g. counseling, career placement, student activities) to be on par with the main campus. Investigate options for creating needed child care services

• Continue and expand efforts to respond to the credit and non-credit program opportunities presented by the expansions in the Griffiss Business and Technology Park

• Review program offerings. Focus on those that are the high demand programs, reducing the number of low enrolled programs. Determine which programs can be Rome only and which should be Utica/Rome. Direct resources toward providing more complete course offerings for the high demand programs and general education

• Increase full-time and adjunct faculty resources dedicated to the Rome campus

• Develop programs with Rome Free Academy, especially dual credit college courses in the high school

• Prepare a complete annual financial statement for the Rome campus to include an accounting of all revenues (sponsor support, grants and income, etc.)



Report prepared by

Denise S. Bukovan, Chair
SUNY Rome Campus Study Committee
March 2006
(May 25, 2006, College News Release)

MVCC Receives SUNY Study of Rome Campus


At the request of Mohawk Valley Community College Board of Trustees and President Michael I. Schafer, the State University of New York (SUNY) Central Administration in Albany recently conducted a study of operations at the College’s Rome Campus.
The purpose of the study was to assist a Board of Trustees committee, headed by Trustee Michael Austin, in its efforts to plan for the future of the Rome Campus. The study examined MVCC Rome Campus programs, enrollments, finances and facilities.
According to President Schafer, “MVCC continues to recognize and value its commitment to serve residents of Oneida County, including northern and western Oneida County, as an important part of our overall mission. It makes sense to seek objective advice periodically on how to do that best. The assistance of SUNY in gathering information to help guide our decisions is extremely beneficial.”
Conducting the study on behalf of the SUNY Central Administration was a committee chaired by Denise Bukovan, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges. Members of the committee include George Anker of the SUNY Budget and Finance Office, James Dewar of the SUNY Construction Fund, and Patricia Pietropaolo of the SUNY Provost’s Office. Each of these individuals is the SUNY liaison to community colleges and an expert in community college matters in their respective area of responsibility. The committee reviewed extensive data provided by the College, and also visited the Rome Campus, meeting with administrators, Trustees and others.
The committee found that the Rome Campus makes important contributions to MVCC, in terms of finances and enrollment. They point out that there are critical facilities and enrollment issues facing the Rome Campus, but also that there are significant market and operational opportunities as well.
The SUNY study committee examined five alternatives for consideration by the College’s Board of Trustees. The alternatives presented by SUNY range from strategies for improving and expanding Rome Campus operations, reorganizing and “right-sizing” the Rome Campus, closing the Rome Campus and moving programs and students to Utica, or maintaining the status quo. They presents the pros and cons for each alternative. The information they provided clearly shows that the Rome Campus is vital to MVCC but that changes are needed. The first steps will be to define and articulate a unique mission and vision for the campus, in the context of the mission and vision of MVCC. The Strategic Plan for the college will also require a specific focus on the Rome Campus and its future.
Trustees will consider the information contained in the report over the next several months, and will organize a community-based and college based committee to recommend specific actions related to programs, finances and facilities.
Asked about his vision for the future of the Rome Campus, President Schafer said “The best direction for the Rome Campus will emerge from discussions with and input from stakeholders over the next several months.”
There is no specific timetable for Trustee action.





BUILDING STATS

PLUMLEY COMPLEX: 68,930 square feet. Constructed 1990, combining gutted former College Center Building with new construction, joined by common atrium.

ACADEMIC BUILDING: Constructed approximately 1934 (?), as part of Oneida County Hospital (or Home?). 30,004 square feet. Hospitality Programs dining room renovated 1992. Fitness center added 1993. Hospitality programs kitchen opened in 1994.

DEANS

Michael B. Sewall, 1983-

Professor Michael B. Sewall was appointed dean of MVCC’s Rome Campus in November 1984. Dean Sewall had been a member of the MVCC faculty since 1971, in the College’s Human Services & Psychology Department. (December 1983). He held a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from LeMoyne College (1963) and a master’s degree in social studies from Syracuse University (1967).

Dr. Jonathan Gibralter was appointed dean of the Rome Campus in 1993, coming to MVCC from SUNY Morrisville where he held a variety of positions between 1986 and 1993, including instructor and assistant professor in the General Studies Department, director of individual studies and associate dean in the School of Liberal Arts. He held a B.A. degree in psychology from SUNY Binghamton, and an M.A. degree in counseling psychology at New York University. In 1997 he received his Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University in child and family studies. He resigned in June 1998 to become dean of academic affairs at Corning Community College. Later became president of SUNY Farmingdale. In 2006 left Farmingdale to become president of Frostburg State University in Maryland.


Samuel Smith – (College News release, July 15, 1998) – “Smith Appointed Dean of MVCC’s Rome Campus – Samuel C Smith… Rome, has been named dean of Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome Campus.
Smith comes to MVCC from Herkimer County Community College, where he has served as assistant dean of academic affairs since 1995. Dean Smith is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, and was director of personnel at the former Griffiss Air Force Base for four years. He has extensive collegiate teaching experience, at HCCC, Utica College, SUNY Binghamton, Sage College and the SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome.
He holds a B.A. degree in general studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an M.A. degree in business management and supervision from Central Michigan University, and a certificate of advanced studies in higher education from the State University of New York College at Cortland. … He succeeds Dr. Jonathan Gibralter, who recently became dean of academic affairs at Corning Community College….”

Dr. Ronald G. Cantor was appointed dean of the Rome Campus in July 2004. He came to MVCC from Jefferson Community College in Watertown, where he had served as associate dean for liberal arts since 1996. He held a BS degree in administration from the University of New Hampshire, an M.Ed. degree in higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Ph.D. degree in cultural foundations of education/history from Syracuse University.