Posted at: 10/10/2013 6:01 PM
| Updated at: 10/10/2013 9:14 PM
By: Dan Bazile
Hudson Valley Community College is celebrating the opening of its new, $47 million science center.
The two-year school has seen a slight decline in enrollment, but officials say the new building will be a key attraction to get more students on campus.
After a ribbon cutting, Hudson Valley Community College took NewsChannel 13 on a tour of the new science center.
It's three floors packed with state of the art scientific equipment, 25 labs and 11 classrooms and study spaces.
“This would not have occurred if we didn't have everyone working together. That is really the message,” said Andrew Mantonak, HVCC President.
The doors officially opened here back on August 26th for about 7,500 students. They're enrolled in 25 different academic degree and certificate programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and healthcare related fields.
“This science building reflects where we need to be with this campus, with our young people, with our workforce in general,” said Kathy Jimino, Rensselaer County Executive.
While the new center was funded by Rensselaer County and the State of New York, HVCC is facing some financial pressures. The school did some layoffs earlier this year. The student population has also declined a little bit.
“When our enrollment goes down a little bit, we need to make adjustments, and we do. But we keep the eye on the ball,” says Mantonak.
It's investments like this building they believe will drive the economy in the Capital Region and bring in more students. However, Albany County is making changes that could have another impact on enrollment.
Since the county does not have a community college, it has to pay a third of the cost for its residents to attend schools outside the county -- it's called charge backs. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has been complaining about the fee.
“We budgeted $10.3 million next year for community colleges and $8 million directly goes to Hudson Valley. That's how many students we have in Albany County that come here,” said McCoy.
That's why he set up an agreement with Schenectady County Community College to hold classes in Downtown Albany. Their charge backs are less than half what he pays to HVCC.