Essex County

ELIZABETHTOWN - Two separate funding requests from North Country Community College were met with mixed responses from Essex County supervisors this week.

NCCC interim president Fred Smith visited the Essex County Ways and Means committee June 29 to introduce the college's recently approved budget and the plans for its next big construction project.

While part of the increase in next year's budget would be offset by higher tuition, Smith explained that the college would need an additional $50,000 each from both Franklin and Essex counties to offset an anticipated loss in state aid.

Several supervisors spoke in approval of the increase, noting the success of its new Registered Nursing program at NCCC's Ticonderoga branch.

"They've added curriculum that helps keep people in our area," said Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas, commending the college for trimming its budget as much as possible.

Smith said one limitation to the new RN program was that it could only take in up to 30 students because each student needed a medical facility at which to complete their clinical experience. Still, it was certainly contributing to the goal of raising enrollment in Ticonderoga.

Smith mentioned other new programs in the works at NCCC, such as a proposal for an Environmental Science program and possible reinstitution of an inmate education program in nearby prisons.

The committee set July 20 as the date for a public hearing on the increased budget contribution. The funds could then be approved at the Aug. 3 board meeting or at a special meeting held immediately following the public hearing.

In contrast, a request for $55,000 to help fund the architectural design of an upgrade to the Saranac Lake campus was met with less enthusiasm.

"The college has been neglectful in doing the kind of things that should have been done over the years," said Smith, who said initial estimates of the construction ran as high as $33 million.

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