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Newcomb Central on brink of securing dormitory funding

Visiting from Russian, Svetlana Ovcharenko is putting together a pitch to attract investors from her home country to build a dorm in Newcomb for international and out-of-area students.

Visiting from Russian, Svetlana Ovcharenko is putting together a pitch to attract investors from her home country to build a dorm in Newcomb for international and out-of-area students. Photo by John Grybos.

— Newcomb Central School may soon get the funding it needs to construct dormatories to house foreign students.

The local school’s international student program, boosted by publicity from The New York Times, is a potential opportunity for foreign investors.

With visiting student enrollment limited by housing space, the school could use a dormitory, and investors from abroad may make that happen.

The school has had enough requests to take on about 100 foreign students, if it had the space and desire to do so, said Linda Montanye. She works closely with Newcomb Superintendent Clark “Skip” Hults on the international student program.

The Town of Newcomb recently began talking about building dorms to accommodate larger numbers of visiting students, but hadn't gone very far before foreign investors expressed interest, said Town Supervisor George Canon.

Visiting Newcomb Aug. 8 was Svetlana Ovcharenko, a Russian who recruits for the program. So far, she's sent four students to the school.

She visited the town to review sites for possible construction and meet with Hults face-to-face. She liked Woodruff Pond, calling the site “very spectacular.”

After her visit, Ovcharenko will head back to Russia and present to her first potential group of investors. If they like her pitch, she said, she'll be lucky and they'll move ahead as quickly as possible. If they don't like it, she'll find another investment group and try again.

Hults said investors from Thailand have expressed interest as well, and they have plans to use a potential dorm in the off season for college respite and adult English learners.

Instead of higher education students taking expensive flights back to distant home countries, the Thai investors would open up the dorms in summer months to give them an affordable alternative.

For now, the school and town are holding on until they know if the foreign investment will work.

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