A New College In Town

Published on January 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Schenectady County Community College announced on Jan. 17 that they will be expanding into the heart of the Capital Region, with a new extension site at 112 State St. in downtown Albany, where a variety of courses will be offered through a partnership with Albany County. Plans are now being set to build six classrooms as well as administrative offices in the nearly 10,000-square-foot space for SCCC’s new downtown Albany location, which the school will be leasing. Future classes at this site are anticipated to begin January 2014 semester, and will be held on the second floor of the Albany County Office Building.  In its first semester of utilization, the school  will primarily offer general studies courses at this location. The county building also allows room for potential future expansion to other vacant floors.

New SCCC extension site is located at 112 State Street in downtown Albany. (Courtesy of SCCC)

New SCCC extension site is located at 112 State Street in downtown Albany. (Courtesy of SCCC)

Ideally, residents of Albany County, which does not have its own community college, will now have easier access to programs and courses offered through SCCC.  Some speculate that this could potentially decrease enrollment from Hudson Valley Community College, the next closest two-year state operated school.

“I think it’s good, because a lot of kids get stuck choosing between SCCC and HVCC,” said Coordinator of Transfer Admission at The College of Saint Rose Dan Capogna, and having an extension of SCCC in Albany will give students another option, especially if they have limited means of transportation.

This satellite location will also involve Schenectady residents traveling to Albany for classes on a regular basis, an already college-heavy city. The project is estimated to bring 1,000 of SCCC’s 7,000 plus students to downtown Albany beginning this fall.

While the school has seen innumerable changes since its opening in 1969, one of its monumental successes occurred last year when SCCC opened the doors of its first off-site location at 433 State St., Schenectady, known as Center City.  The institution is expecting the same type of prosperity on Albany’s State St. satellite location.

Though a greater distance, SCCC students will be able and encouraged to ride CDTA buses back and forth directly from the main Schenectady campus to this off-site location in Albany for free with their student identification card, through an innovative ridership program initiated in 2011.  A CDTA bus stop and shelter conveniently already exist just outside the Albany County Building.  The commute will be approximately twenty minutes direct.

Anticipating that parking in Albany can be difficult, SCCC has arranged that parking for staff, faculty, and student commuters with cars will also be available in the garage on the west side of the Times Union Center, a brief walk away from SCCC’s new site. SCCC has a current enrollment of over 7,000 students each semester, and is looking to increase that number by offering and off-site facility. With over 40 career degree, transfer degree, and certificate programs, SCCC hopes to make these more attainable by creating new classrooms conveniently located in the Capital City.

Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings  discuss the opening of the SCCC Albany branch. (Photo Credit: SCCC)

Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings discuss the opening of the SCCC Albany branch. (Photo Credit: SCCC)

The new extension coincides with the SCCC’s mission statement to “[provide] quality, comprehensive education for transfer, careers, training and workforce development to a diverse population in a student-centered environment,” while keeping it “accessible and affordable” for students. This also embodies one of SCCC’s four main goal areas to “enhance the campus physical environment.”
“It … seems like SCCC is in a state of serious expansion,” said SCCC student Fannon Herbert, referring to the new student housing and downtown Schenectady locations, in addition to the new Albany prospect.

Talia Cass, who transferred to Saint Rose in 2011 from SCCC, said “I think it will help bring in more students who live near the Albany area,” noting that students commute to SCCC from all directions and distances.  Herbert also noted that “It makes logical sense because we have a lot of students who commute from Albany every day.”

“It’s nice to see how SCCC has evolved over the years,” said Cass, who started her college education at SCCC in 2010, when only the main campus existed.  In those few short years, SCCC has built dormitories for students, enhanced the music building, began offering classes in downtown Schenectady, and created the partnership with CDTA, and is now expanding even beyond Schenectady County.

Glad that local higher-education seekers are being offered another opportunity, Capogna said “It’s great they they’ve realized that there’s a need here in Albany, and they did something about it.” To learn more about the expansion visit www.sunysccc.edu.

 

– LAUREN HALLIGAN, Features Editor (January 29th, 2013 Print Edition)