JCC's most recent five-year improvement plan will come to fruition early next year.
As part of the State University of New York system, Jamestown Community College must file a five-year capital master plan with SUNY administrators detailing all of its planned capital projects for the time period. This plan covers the Jamestown campus, Cattaraugus campus and North County center in Dunkirk.
John R. Garfoot, vice president and dean of administration, worked for the college for the last five years and has been intimately involved in the latest five-year improvement plan.
"It just so happened that when I came on the board it was time to do the master plan," Garfoot said. "So we engaged a very inclusive process. We asked our faculty and staff members, various college constituency groups, we asked the administration just for some assistance as to what they'd like to see done with the facilities over the next five-year period."
In addition to involving the entire college in the idea process, the board also conducted a greenhouse gas inventory and an energy audit in the course of preparing the plan. This way, the board's decisions would be informed by the projects' likely impact to the environment. According to Garfoot, the administration favored energy saving ideas throughout the course of planning.
'A SERIES OF
When Garfoot came on board at JCC, the college's first two residence halls were just being built. After that, "There were a series of dominos, if you want to call it that," Garfoot said.
The administration then moved the science faculty from the third floor of the Arts and Sciences building into a brand-new science center. That freed up about 15,000 to 18,000 square feet where the science department was previously. The goal was then to move the nursing program out of the Carnahan building and into that newly open space.
The Carnahan building will then be renovated, most likely to accommodate the college's criminal justice programs.
"Part of the thinking is to eventually get the criminal justice programs and public safety programs all under one roof," said Garfoot.
The final domino in JCC's construction plan is to make a decision regarding the 100-year-old community building across from Russell E. Diethrick Park on Falconer Street.
"While I'm not sure what we are going to do with it, it's pretty apparent that it's going to be cost-prohibitive to really gut and rehab that building," Garfoot said. "Asbestos abatement and some of the other things we have to do is going to really drive the cost of that through the roof. But we don't know if we will turn it over to another not-for-profit agency or sell it outright or demolish it and land bank the land. I'm not sure what we're going to do yet."
All this may sound daunting, but Garfoot and JCC are up to the challenge.
"These projects are not huge, it's not like you're building an HSBC bank building in Buffalo," explained Garfoot, "but these are still significant projects here. It takes about a year to plan and a year to do your construction."
JCC has just completed a large capital project in the form of a third residence hall. After building the first two halls, JCC officials asked residence life staff members what they wanted to see in the new building. The result was the addition of a large multi-purpose room in the front, a more open and airy structure, a partial glass wall, more office space, a bigger foyer, more storage space and a dorm made up entirely of single occupancy rooms.
"When you plan a project, you get the end users involved, because they know what they want to see," said Garfoot. "It always helps to have them sit down with the architects before construction happens."
Garfoot admits that the more people get involved, the longer the project takes to complete.
"When you involve other people, it does take more time," he said. "But frankly, they know more about what should go in that building than I do."
NEW NURSING FACILITY
Garfoot followed this philosophy when making the plans for the new nursing facility on the third floor of the Arts and Sciences building. The administration had a series of meetings with the nursing faculty to construct a vision for the new project. As a result, there will be a large student worker room, reception area and waiting area. The construction will double the number of lab spaces, or virtual hospital rooms, the nursing students use for training. One long hallway connects the entire building.
"The end goal is to have more nursing students attend JCC," said Garfoot.
Construction began right after graduation in May. Initially, the cost was predicted to be much higher than JCC's budget could accommodate. However, with careful planning and compromise, the cost was lowered. Garfoot said he hopes to continue to involve the nursing faculty in the construction process to ensure that the reality of the product matches their expectations.
"During the course of the project I will get the nursing people into the actual construction site," he said. "It is helpful to have the users come into the construction site and look around. What I emphasize to people is that you really can get hurt on a construction site, so we don't have people in and out of there all the time and students are not in and out of there all the time."
The project is about 35 percent complete, and Garfoot said he expects to see positive progress now that some early surprises have been handled.
One last problem that contractors are dealing with involves the restrooms. In the current floor plan, the restrooms are about four feet lower than the floor level. It may be necessary to move the two rooms up to match the rest of the floor. As a result, the estimated completion date has been moved. Even after the project is technically completed, JCC must wait for the spring semester to end in order to move the nursing equipment from where it is to the new building, which cannot be done until the nurses have finished for the year.
"We moved the estimated completion date from mid-February to maybe the end of March," said Garfoot. "We did have some issues that delayed us a bit."