AUBURN | Cayuga Community College's board of trustees rejected all bids for the construction of a new State Street theater Wednesday afternoon in the wake of a court decision ruling the project's original environmental review was inadequate.
In a unanimous vote cast at the board's monthly meeting, the trustees voted to dismiss all bids — temporarily halting the bidding process for building the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center — until after the county conducted a new State Environmental Quality Review assessment.
The Appellate Division's decision, issued by the Rochester court in the beginning of June, ruled that Auburn improperly conducted its first SEQR by declaring the demolition would have no environmental impact on the city while still acknowledging the process could potentially have a largely negative effect on the environment.
Speaking to trustees' concerns, Dan Larson, president of CCC, said the new SEQR was out of the college's hands.
"The county really needs to be the lead agency," he explained.
As the legislator representing Ledyard, Scipio and Springport, George Fearon said the Legislature might work on the review assessment at its next meeting.
"The county may be willing to move on this," Fearon said. "They've got to do their due diligence."
Although the court's decision presented the theater with a few new setbacks, Larson said previous preparations made the situation easier. Because most of the paperwork needed to complete the new SEQR already existed, Larson said the process wouldn't take as long or entail as much labor as it originally had.
And although Larson said CCC would need to start the bidding process for contractors from scratch, he said many of the bidders would simply resubmit their offers when the process restarted.
However, due to the need to complete a new SEQR review for the theater project, Larson said the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center would not be ready for use until the fall of next year, a few months after the previously hoped-for start date.