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Cayuga Community College plans Feb. 1 opening for culinary center

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Cayuga Community College's culinary center is scheduled to open in over a month, with students currently able to register. 

The downtown Auburn center, where students will learn about the culinary arts, is targeted to open Feb. 1, which college president Brian Durant noted is also the first day CCC and other SUNY colleges are currently set to hold in-person classes next semester. Most of the college's courses are being held remotely, with the first day of classes set for Jan. 19.

Class offerings for the culinary center, where construction work is still taking place, are now lined up and enrollment is open. The center will be on the ground floor of the Plaza of the Arts building with storefront windows facing Genesee Street.

The college is leasing the spot from the Soules & Dunn Development Group, which owns the plaza. The spot was originally planned to open for classes by fall 2020, but that was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CCC has been approved for $800,000 in state grant funds through the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, where the state has carved out $10 million in potential funding toward projects in the city's downtown area.

"Our partners have done a tremendous job of managing the construction schedule and timeline," Durant said earlier this week. "Certainly as a leased facility, we appreciate the efforts that they're making. The global pandemic has impacted people in a variety of ways, this project is not immune to its impact.

"We appreciate all the due diligence and effort that's being done to try to have this facility up and open in February and for us to be able to get students started studying culinary arts here at the college."

With the college being so busy managing day-to-day health and safety among staff and students due to the outbreak, Durant said it's nice "to have projects and visioning move forward and about to be opened."

The culinary center will have COVID-19 safety protocols in place, like any other CCC facility. A daily screening process will be held for anyone entering the building, social distancing will be in place, and instructors and students alike will be required to wear masks.

Standards for additional personal protective equipment that need to be met for a culinary setting will be maintained as well. The college's procedures to ensure compliance with the state's COVID-19 protocols are in place, Durant added. Culinary students will need to participate in the college's surveillance testing for the virus, which began earlier this year.

Durant acknowledged that "a mid-year start to a program is never ideal," and the college knows the delay may impact the center's number of initial students. He said the college is working to re-engage those who were originally interested in taking culinary classes for the fall 2020 semester.

"Getting it underway, leveraging the beautiful facility all spring for recruitment purposes, gaining the momentum throughout the early parts of '21, we're really looking forward to be able to bring in a full cohort in the fall of '21," he said. "We know that there's a real need in the area for high-quality chefs. We know that hospitality and tourism is a major part of our economic driver in this region, and so we're looking forward, both (in the) credited and non-credited side, to leveraging a facility like this, be able to support regional industry and help train future employees to support those industries."

Those interested in CCC's culinary arts program are asked to contact the college's admissions office at (866) 598-8883, or

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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Education and City Reporter

Hello, my name is Kelly Rocheleau, and I cover the education and city beats for The Citizen and I've been writing for the paper since December 2016.

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