Referendum Feb.3 on sale of Geneva School

Dr. Robert Young believes that closer ties between Finger Lakes Community College and the Geneva City School District will pay educational dividends for local students and the Geneva community. And Young, the school district’s superintendent, hopes that Geneva residents will take a key step toward this partnership next month by approving the district’s sale of the former Geneva Middle School building to FLCC. FLCC has agreed to purchase the building for $400,000. The district’s Board of Education approved the sale last month, but it also must be OK’d by residents in a referendum to be held on Feb. 3. The building is at Pulteney and Milton streets. Voting on the sale will be from noon to 9 p.m. in the auxiliary gymnasium of Geneva High School on Carter Road. Voters should enter the school through the front entrance.FLCC has rented the former Middle School for classes since 2005, and has 306 full-time and 132 part-time students at the Geneva campus. The college has not yet decided whether to renovate the former Middle School or construct a new building for its Geneva center. FLCC officials have saidthat decision would be made by the end of this year.Young urged residents to get out and vote for the sale, which he said would expand the community college’s presence in Geneva. “We want a closerrelationship between our high school and the college.” He said. “Too many students don¹t see college in their futures.””Education is the great equalizer,” he said, adding that he can envision the day when FLCC staff could meet with high school freshmen and impress uponthem the importance of staying in school to get a high school diploma and continuing their education beyond that.The sale also makes financial sense, Young said. FLCC rents the building from the school district for $250,000 a year but it costs the district about$200,000 annually to maintain it. The district has no need for the building­ which is located across town from Geneva’s high school-middle school complex and uses it only for meetings and get-togethers from time to time.If voters approve the sale, Ontario County would purchase the 130,000-square-foot building and 4.5 acres as FLCC’s sponsoring agency. FLCC has had a satellite campus in Geneva since 1984. Its main campus is in the Ontario County town of Hopewell. It also has a satellite campus in Newark and is establishing one in Victor.Last year state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, Seneca County, secured $6 million in state funds for FLCC’s Geneva campus, according to the publishedreports. That money is expected to be matched by $6 million from Ontario County.

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