MCC downtown campus: Sibley Building or Kodak Building

Posted at: 02/07/2013 11:47 PM
By: Lynette Adams

There is less than a week before the Monroe County Legislature is scheduled to approve a bond for the new downtown Monroe Community College, and now there is a new proposal out there promising to save taxpayers $18 million dollars. But the county executive is calling it a "last minute attempt that is not necessary."
Is that the truth?

Gilbert Winn says he will do that simply by rehabbing and remodeling what already there.
The county expects to pay $72-million to build a new campus on Sate Street, but Winn says he can give students the same if not a better facility at the Sibley Building at $18-million dollars less.

A week ago, Gilbert Winn, Managing Principal if Winncompanies, and the new owner of the Sibley Building, made this very proposal to Monroe County lawmakers. Friday, he made his pitch to the community.

“We think that this deserves another look and that's why we're here today,” said Winn.

He unveiled an impressive new building and a list of its benefits including a dedicated entrance for MCC, updated everything, expanded classrooms, and accessible parking, all at a guaranteed price of $57 million. But it's been a tough sell.

MCC leadership is poised to move this campus to an unused Kodak Building on State Street. A building it says is better suited for a campus of the future.

But is that what students want?

MCC Student, John Campbell said, “I don't know why even if it costs taxpayers $18-million why that's too much money to invest in education, when we're willing to buy a fast ferry, develop a fast ferry and we've had other projects.”

Student, Fleming Ashford Doesn't want the move.

“It's more convenient right here. Then you have the stores downtown, a couple of stores and you can do a little shopping after school.”

News10NBC's Lynette Adams asked SHARON Jones if the college should be moved. Jones said, “This building is infested with rodents. It has creepy little creatures, that we don't want to take home in our back packs. I Mean can I be perfectly blunt with you? The elevators, the escalators don't work a lot of the time, there are unnecessary public the safety issues.”

County Executive Maggie Brooks scoffed at Winn's offer to save taxpayers $18-million.

“I reject the premise of possible savings because the analysis has been done based on MCC needs and you see everybody saying the same thing, Kodak is the site that responds to those needs.”

Winn told the audience it would also include retail, a new police substation, housing for senior citizens and market rate housing as well as office space.

The Monroe County legislature is scheduled to vote on the Bonding for the new campus at it's upcoming meeting Tuesday. Winn is asking that it at least table that vote until it has had a full opportunity to go through his proposal.