Legislators approve construction of controversial ECC project

Jul 15, 2016

The Erie County Legislature has voted its approval of the lowest-bid contractor to begin construction on a new STEM Building at ECC's North Campus. Despite lawsuits and some loud opposition over its location, the STEM Building is expected to be open for class in January 2018.

Groundbreaking on the $30 million STEM Building at ECC North is scheduled for August 24th.

Opponents protested the location of the new science building, arguing that it would be more appropriate at ECC's City Campus, which sits considerably closer to the jobs being created at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. In introducing yesterday's resolution, Legislator Kevin Hardwick argued in favor of the project saying that it is " vital to keeping our students in Erie County from crossing over the border into Niagara County."

The vote took place despite the looming threat of a lawsuit alleging that the approved contractor may not have  provided the required paperwork.

ECC President Jack Quinn appeared relieved by the approval.

"There's a lot of work to be done, but we're ready to start after today," said Quinn. A groundbreaking is set for August 24th.

Quinn sees the facility at the heart of ECC's future.

"No question about it. I mean, the Buffalo Public Schools, for example, have started a whole STEM curriculum in the high schools that started all across the country. We believe strongly in our discussions with the high schools around town, we need to be able to match that," Quinn said.

"Everybody knows this (STEM fields) is where the jobs are going to be."