AUBURN | The Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, just one night after hosting a community gathering to address neighborhood concerns regarding a proposal to build its first on-campus housing facility.
CCC President Daniel Larson said Wednesday between 30 and 40 people came to Tuesday's meeting to hear the board discuss community-suggested changes in January.
"There were different levels of feelings from everyone there, but there is a select group who simply do not want this campus housing in their neighborhood under any circumstance," Larson said.
When the project was originally proposed last month, several concerns were raised by neighbors who are worried about how it would affect the community. Since then, the college has done a great deal of research and made changes to the original plan to reassure local homeowners that they were being taken into consideration.
"These people just want to make sure that their quality of life is going to be preserved," said Jeff Rosenthal, associate vice president of student affairs at CCC. "We want to show them that they have been heard and follow up with them based on their input."
One issue was the impact the building would have on crime and safety. Homeowners were also concerned about the effect the 300-bed project would have on their property values.
"We did a lot of research and found no evidence showing that crime increased as a result of on-campus housing being built or that property value would be lowered," Rosenthal said.
Other concerns were excessive noise as well as possible negative impact on the nearby nature trails. Rosenthal explained the school addressed this by moving the entrance from Prospect Street to the actual campus, which faces the opposite direction of nearby houses. They also changed their designs to include trash receptacles along the nature trails to prevent littering.
The college estimates a project cost of between $18 and $20 million, but the money will not come from state aid or taxpayer dollars as tax rates would not be affected. Because state law prevents community colleges from owning an on-campus housing facility, the school hopes to pay for it by selling bonds.
Larson said Wednesday that if these recent changes to the preliminary design are not enough, the school could look into moving the building elsewhere on campus but would have to explore its options before making changes. Wherever the building may go, board members agreed this addition is an important part of increasing enrollment and competing with other area schools.
"On-campus housing is such an important part of the college experience," Rosenthal said. "Higher education is changing and we need to provide students with the things they are looking for."