A proposed North Country Community College technical center in Ticonderoga has cleared its first hurdle toward becoming reality. The state has agreed to fund a feasibility study on the plan to expand the college’s Ti campus to the former Lowe’s building on Wicker Street. That building would become an applied technology center.
A proposed North Country Community College technical center in Ticonderoga has cleared its first hurdle toward becoming reality.
The state has agreed to fund a feasibility study on the plan to expand the college’s Ti campus to the former Lowe’s building on Wicker Street. That building would become an applied technology center.
“I am pleased to share with you the news that our CFA (consolidated funding application) proposal for the feasibility study to investigate a multi-college/incubator facility in Ticonderoga was an approved project and funded by the state today,” Dr. Steve Tyrell, NCCC president, said Dec. 11. “We have to move forward with an RFP (request for proposal) proposal to hire a firm to conduct the feasibility study.”
If the project becomes reality, NCCC will expand its degree programs in Ticonderoga. Specific curriculum have not yet been identified, but Tyrell expects an emphasis on green technology.
NCCC has asked other colleges, both two- and four-year institutions, to participate in the Ti program.
The Ticonderoga program would be based on a similar program at SUNY-Alfred, where Tyrell worked before coming to NCCC. The Alfred program offers college-level carpentry, masonry, electrician and other construction trade training. It also integrates energy conservation, alternative energy use and sustainable building design education and training into its academic programs, focusing on green building technologies in New York State.
“The vacant Lowe’s facility has been on the minds of people in Ticonderoga,” Tyrell said when he introduced the proposal last summer. “I’ve been thinking about ways to ease the middle skills gap in the Adirondacks. I thought this might be a win-win for the college and the community.”
Middle skills are those requiring more than a high school degree, but not a four-year degree.
Jim Major, chairman of the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance board of directors, said the education center could bring students to Ticonderoga to study carpentry, plumbing, electrical trades, engineering, auto body work, diesel mechanics, marine technology and more.
Tyrell said the proposed applied technology center could serve up to 450 students and could open in the fall of 2016. It will have no impact on the existing Ticonderoga campus or its programs, Tyrell said.
Major said the additional students could generate $1.5 million in business for Ticonderoga.
“Besides its offering hands-on education and the potential of good paying jobs to our youth, it will also offer millions of dollars of food and retail purchases to the benefit of Ti’s business owners,” he said.
That’s good, but officials believe the greatest economic impact could be from spin-off industry.
Tyrell said the START-UP NY program could lead to businesses locating in Ticonderoga. That state program gives tax breaks to businesses aligned with the academic mission of a college campus, college or university.
Participating companies in START-UP NY will not pay any taxes for 10 years. Employees in participating companies will pay no income taxes for the first five years.
“Biomass energy is a critical resource,” Ticonderoga Supervisor Deb Malaney said. “The whole country is seeking to become less dependent on fossil fuels. Europe and other countries are much further along than we are.
“We hope this will allow us to attract additional businesses in the biomass energy industry,” she added. “We believe those companies will locate near an applied technology center specializing in biomass energy.”
Malaney said there have already been preliminary discussions with such a company about locating in Ticonderoga. She declined to name the firm.
The supervisor said the biomass energy facility could also help existing Ti businesses, like International Paper Co.
Tyrell said he will meet with local officials after the holidays to discuss the project.
“I’m optimistic this will come to fruition in Ticonderoga,” he said. “After we have the feasibility study we’ll look at the financials. Then the question is, is Ticonderoga the right place? I believe it is.”