School of Applied Technology proposal presented

School of Applied Technology presentation cover art.

Date:20 Apr, 2018

School of Applied Technology proposal presented

Photo caption: Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance Executive Director Donna Wotton outlined a proposal for a School of Applied Technology in Ticonderoga at the Hotel Saranac in Saranac Lake on April 18, 2018.


Saranac Lake – Donna Wotton, executive director of the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance, outlined a proposal for a School of Applied Technology in Ticonderoga to North Country Community College faculty and staff, county elected officials and the news media at a series of presentations on Wednesday, April 18.

As proposed, the school would offer Associate of Applied Science degrees in carpentry/painting, HVAC/plumbing, electrical trades, and auto and diesel mechanics. It would also offer a Facility Maintenance Tech certificate program. The School of Applied Technology would enroll an estimated 145 full-time-equivalent students by its second year, recruited from high schools, BOCES and vocational tech programs across the region, according to Wotton’s proposal.

The estimated start-up cost of the program would be $4.8 million. The Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance would cover the $1.5 million purchase cost of a facility to house the program, which it would lease to the college. It would also be responsible for securing a $1 million flagship gift from a donor and raising $900,000 in private contributions. The college would contribute $900,000, plus $100,000 for initial program development work.

Steve Reed, Chairman of NCCC’s Board of Trustees, made the following remarks at this week’s presentations to faculty and staff of the college.

“A couple years ago we did a feasibility study about the possibility of a School of Applied Technology. We didn’t go forward with that at that moment. Beginning last October, at the request of the Ti Alliance, Dr. Tyrell and I met with their representatives to consider if we might offer a proposal with a much more detailed plan for financing.

Today, Donna and Steve will speak about the start-up cost and proposed funding from the Ti Alliance that ultimately would require a college contribution of less than 20 percent to a $5 million project. A healthy fund balance makes it possible to consider this venture, since we feel it will go a long way to establishing a secure financial future for our college community.

We have with us today Dr. Tyrell, and the executive director of the Ti Alliance, Donna Wotton, is here. She has labored indefatigably on these issues, the raising of the money and this presentation. She and this group have vetted the analysis from our original feasibility study, and our projections, and she’s here today with Steve Tyrell to lead today’s presentation, which will put forth in detail our sense of the three most important reasons to go forward with the project.

One, it’s in the best interest of the college to offer new programs, offerings that will allow us to keep our enrollment numbers healthy and that we believe will turn a profit immediately. Our intent is not to change our mission or diminish the programs that we currently have but to move forward in to the future with foresight and flexibility.

Two, we believe the offerings of the school of Applied Technology will be of tremendous benefit to the communities and counties we serve. Three, we believe the offer of financial support this large is a unique opportunity. The philosophic pragmatist William James called this kind of option ‘A genuine option. It is living, forced and momentous.’ To use a cliché, it’s a gift horse, but it’s a gift horse we want you folks to look carefully in the mouth before we saddle it and ride it, or consign it to whatever glue factory rejected proposals go to.

We on the board have enthusiastically endorsed the strengthening of our shared governance process, and we fully appreciate faculty oversight of curriculum. Hence, you are our first invitees to the presentation. I want to make it clear what it is I hope you will consider. We have no illusions that an hour-and-a-half presentation will be sufficient for you to make a judgement on this proposal. It is true, however, that time is of the essence for our prospective donors.

What we are asking is that in May the faculty consider bringing in someone of its choice, with substantial experience in the matter, to evaluate objectively the benefits and drawbacks of moving in this direction. When the report is complete, we’ll all have a much surer grip on the potential of the project. It is our intent that as this individual investigates the issues, the faculty will have opportunity to share their questions and concerns.”

If the faculty feedback to the Board of Trustees in May results in the board authorizing the hire of a consultant to vet the proposal, that work would take place over the summer, at which point the building would be secured and private funding raised, according to Wotton’s presentation. Recruitment and the securing of necessary state approvals would take place as early as the 2018-19 academic year, and would be contingent upon required faculty review and approval of all curriculum proposals, with a tentative goal of launching the school in the fall of 2019.

About North Country Community College:  As the only public college located in the Adirondack Park, North Country Community College provides educational, cultural and recreational programming to a 3,500 square mile service area with a population of 90,000. The college maintains three campuses in Saranac Lake, Malone and Ticonderoga, New York; an extensive high school-based academic partnership; and online course offerings. North Country Community College is part of the SUNY (State University of New York) system. With 64 unique colleges and universities, SUNY provides learning environments for every type of student, every stage of life, and every kind of passion. For more information, visit