MARK GILLESPIE/Livingston County News
College staff have been putting up signs and bringing in furniture and equipment to transform the old Dansville Middle School into a Genesee Community College campus center.
Genesee Community College
GCC Dansville ready for class in old middle school
Genesee Community College held a grand opening celebration for the new Dansville Campus Center on Monday. The Dansville Campus relocated to the former Middle School building on Clara Barton Street.
While the entire community has been anticipating the move, students were the most interested in the transition when they return for fall classes next week.
During the moving process, one of the main focuses was to eliminate the “Middle School-look.” Student lounges, with tables and/or chairs, are scattered throughout the GCC portion of the building.
In addition, college administration wanted to honor local history. Clara Commons, named after Clara Barton, is a multi-functional area. The room will serve as a student lounge and the potential site for a variety of activities – including open-mic nights, art exhibits, displays, and more.
“We have an opportunity to create a real college experience,” said Pete Soscia, Associate Dean of the Dansville Campus Center.
GCC will also have access to fully-equipped science labs, a 550-seat theatre, a full gymnasium, art rooms, and more. The entire building also has wireless internet access.
Soscia hopes to make some of the larger rooms available to the community for creative projects – like community theatre.
Technology will also allow the Dansville Campus Center to offer classes that they otherwise would not be able to. The distance learning room will allow students to take classes held at other GCC campuses without having to leave Dansville.
While the new building has a lot of potential, parking will need to be expanded in the future. However, the required approval process will delay the expansion.
Altogether, the building and its features have the potential to double or triple enrollment.
“It’s a big building… high expectations,” said Soscia. “All of this wouldn’t be possible without the support of the new president and the board of trustees.”
Soscia also acknowledged that the Dansville Central School District has been supportive during the entire process. “We work so well together,” said Soscia.
While the current lease is for ten years, GCC is invested in the community long-term. “We are planning our 50 year anniversary,” joked Soscia. “Institutions are sticky places… we aren’t going anywhere.”
Since 2002, the Dansville Campus has served more than 3,000 students and offered more than 1,000 courses. The Dansville campus is the largest campus outside of Batavia with roughly half of the student population coming from the Dansville area.