Partners involved in the development of Monroe Community College’s (MCC) new downtown campus today updated the community on the project’s progress and announced $6 million in increased funding has been secured for the project. Leaders offered insight into the ongoing work at the site on the corner of State Street and Morrie Silver Way, as well as draft designs for a transformative campus that will serve students, employers and the community.
As the lead partner and funder on this project, Monroe County is responsible for purchasing the property and awarding all the contracts related to design, construction and furnishings. The remaining work on the project will go to bid this spring with the next phase of construction slated to begin this fall. The $6 million in increased funding resulted from grants and matching funds, which will be used to enhance the student and faculty experience on campus.
"As Monroe Community College's primary government sponsor, Monroe County has secured local and state funding, committed to the use of local labor, and is working to ensure the needs of all MCC students and staff are met," said County Executive Maggie Brooks. "Today’s announcement of $6 million in increased funding is a testament to the efforts of all stakeholders; yet one of the major accomplishments in this additional funding is the assurance that the local share of the project will not increase. Due to both grants and matching funds, the new downtown MCC campus will be able to stretch dollars even further to help turn the vision of the students and faculty into a reality.”
The new campus will be located at 321 State St., adjacent to Kodak headquarters, and will be home to a collaborative learning environment designed to grow and respond to the changing needs of the community and students. The campus will offer all the services and academic programs currently at the Damon City Campus, including law and criminal justice, human services and education as well as pre-collegiate programs aimed at guiding young people through high school and into college. Additionally, MCC’s nationally recognized Division of Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services will be housed on the seventh floor of the campus, allowing for increased learning opportunities for individuals seeking to enhance their businesses or careers.
“We are proud to be working hand in hand with Monroe County, LaBella Associates and DiMarco Constructors to fulfill MCC’s vision for a new downtown campus,” said MCC President Anne M. Kress. “Our goal is to create a dynamic, innovative and welcoming learning environment that matches the aspirations of our students and the needs of the local community and to do that within budget. This new facility will allow us to prepare students for 21st-century careers, strengthen MCC’s connection to Rochester, and help grow our regional economy.”
To date, work at the site has mostly focused on preparing the building for complete renovation. Phase 1 of the project, which is proceeding on schedule according to construction management firm DiMarco Constructors, began in December and will wrap up in the next couple of months. Asbestos abatement, utility separation, fire alarm decommissioning and sprinkler removal, as well as other infrastructure work, have been a key focus of Phase 1 construction.
“We are excited to partner with Monroe County and MCC to give the college a permanent home in downtown Rochester,” said John DiMarco II, President of DiMarco Constructors. “MCC is an asset to our entire community and we couldn’t be happier with the ongoing progress of Phase 1 construction for this innovative educational facility.”
Along with the preparation work on the building itself, the past few months have been a critical time for the development of the designs for the new campus. Project architect LaBella Associates has been leading sessions with key stakeholders to develop plans for the space, including classrooms and labs, as well as space for admissions, registration and financial aid support. The campus will also include meeting and activity space for student organizations. The learning commons will combine library, computer lab and tutoring space. The design process is collaborative among the project partners including MCC’s students and employees, Monroe County and the construction manager.
The newest set of renderings illustrate instructional spaces that will provide programmatic flexibility, integrated computer technology and a wide range of audio, visual and data capability. A feature of the design is a main circulation stairway that serves the first three floors of the campus. It provides a dynamic public space, which can serve as a cross-functional social hub for students to collaborate from all academic disciplines.
“The new MCC downtown campus will be forward-thinking, flexible, and pedagogy-driven,” said LaBella Associates President Robert Healy. “Programmatic elements focused on workforce development will contribute to a true community college campus in the heart of the High Falls District.”
Along with the learning characteristics of the campus, it will have a positive environmental footprint with numerous sustainable features. Project partners are striving for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which recognizes best practices for buildings that save money while conserving environmental resources.
Phase 2 of the project construction will encompass the complete renovation of the buildings and creation of the campus classrooms, labs, offices and other features. The bid process for Monroe County to select the contractors for Phase 2 will be conducted later this spring. Phase 2 construction is slated to begin in late fall 2015, with classes projected to begin at the new campus in fall 2017.
"Monroe County is proud to do our part to deliver a state-of-the-art downtown campus fitting of the College's world-class academic reputation," said Brooks. "I would like to thank President Kress, the MCC student body and faculty, as well as LaBella Associates and DiMarco Constructors for efficiently advancing this important project to ensure its opening in the fall of 2017."