Erie County is looking at another hefty bill for renovations and repairs at Erie County Community College North.
Legislators sent to Thursday's Economic Development Committee session a plan to spend $350,000 on design and construction administration for major electrical improvements. They want to hire Kideney Architects to develop a design and then do construction supervision for the upgrades.
In proposing the plan, County Executive Mark Poloncarz said a State Education Department review found significant code and safety violations and deficiencies in the campus complex.
County Legislator Ed Rath said 56% of ECC students are at the North campus and the ensuing construction work is an investment in students.
"It is long overdue at ECC North," Rath said. "I remember this past fall, I got some footage from someone who works in the Admissions Office and they had 55-gallon drums that were holding the water during a rainstorm out in the hallways. So we need to prioritize ECC North as much as possible, in this case for the electrical and going forward for the roofing and for everything else, because that's where the students want to be and that's where we need to spend our money, when it comes to capital improvements."
Rath pointed out that much of the North campus electrical system was designed and built before computers became a fact of life. The county executive admitted it is an old campus.
"The whole wiring system had to be changed over the years," Poloncarz said. "The work that's going to be done this year, assuming it gets approved by the Legislature, which I think it will, will ensure the future of those facilities from an electrical standpoint for a number of decades to come."
He said millions have been spent on all ECC campuses and more money will be put into improvement and repairs, noting the new STEM building is up-to-date in every way.