Congressman Arcuri announces funding for HCCC

Kim Dunne

Herkimer County Community College is receiving $97,000 in federal funds to help enhance scientific programs and classroom technology at the college.

Congressman Michael Arcuri, D-Utica, was on hand at HCCC Friday morning to announce the donation.

“It is great that we are able to bring tax dollars back home to invest in world-class education that will build our workforce and strengthen our already top-notch educational facilities here in the Mohawk Valley,” Arcuri said. “We all know that in the new global economy, science and technology are key components of economic development. An educated workforce is the backbone of our region, and this funding will help Herkimer County Community College continue to train and educate the next generation of innovators.”

Arcuri adds that it is important to increase the number of math and science graduates.

“We graduate far more than the average congressional district,” Arcuri said. “That is an important part of the college and I'm happy to be able to be a part of that.”

The federal funds will be used to renovate equipment in four existing laboratories and preparatory areas, as well as provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure a teaching and learning environment that can utilize current technology, provide access for students with disabilities and provide required protection from hazardous materials.

The funding for HCCC was not originally included in the appropriations passed by the House. Arcuri however managed to work with his fellow congressmen and women to make this funding into final legislation.

“Arcuri comes to the plate to do what needs to be done,” Dean of Administration Nick Laino said. “This is where we need to focus to bring our science labs and programs where it needs to be.”

“This gift is going to make a real difference in the lives of human beings,” Dean of Academic Affairs Daniel Murphy added.

“The financial support Congressman Arcuri has secured for science equipment and laboratory renovations at Herkimer County Community College will have a tremendous impact on our students' hands-on learning experiences and professional preparations not only today, but well into the future,” said HCCC President Ronald Williams. “As we focus on updating and expanding the science facilities, we are extremely grateful for Arcuri's partnership with us to accomplish this very important goal.”

Arcuri says he looks forward to working not only with the college, but with the community, to complete this renovation project.

Laino says the college needs $1.5 million to bring the science labs to where they need to be.

“At this point that seems like a big number,” Laino said. “But in reality we're only about $250,000 away from making this become a reality.”

Laino says the start of the project all depends on the funding.

“I would really love to see the project start in the summer of 2009, but of course it all depends on the funding,” he said.