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Niagara County Community College trustees, elected officials and more cut the ribbon to the new Learning Commons facility at the Sanborn campus. (Photos by David Yarger)
Niagara County Community College trustees, elected officials and more cut the ribbon to the new Learning Commons facility at the Sanborn campus. (Photos by David Yarger)

NCCC cuts ribbon to new Learning Commons

by yarger
Thu, Sep 6th 2018 12:35 pm
$25-million facility provides gathering, learning space for students
By David Yarger
Tribune Editor
Thursday morning, faculty, trustees and students of Niagara County Community College, along with elected officials, cut the ribbon to the brand-new, $25 million Learning Commons on the Sanborn campus.
The Learning Commons will provide an area for students to study, gather, socialize, do school work and much more. The Learning Commons also gives the NCCC campus an up-to-date and fresh look, which will appeal to prospective students.
NCCC Interim President William J. Murabito said the commons will provide a unique area for students.
William J. Murabito, NCCC interim president
"This provides an important gathering place for students, not only to recreate, but to study. ... There's a lot of opportunities in terms of technology, where they can link into our internet system, (there's) a reading area, and the library tutoring center - all these services are in one building," Murabito said.
He added, in the first week of school, "Every seat has been taken. The students are smiling, everyone is happy about it. It's going to be a show place when visitors come - prospective students, when they see the activity on campus, they're going to want to come here."
The morning started with several opening remarks regarding the new facility. NCCC board of trustees Chairman William Ross welcomed those in attendance and praised the new Learning Commons.
"When I look at this building, I think it's another gem in the county's crown jewel, and what I mean by the crown jewel, I'm talking about Niagara County Community College. ... We ended up with this beautiful building that'll serve our NCCC family for years to come," Ross said.
New York Sen. Robert Ortt was in attendance and said to look at the commons after a long process was impressive.
"To be able to come out here a couple years later and see this building behind me, and to see what it's going to mean to the students inside - I was looking at some of the students - you can already see the enjoyment they're going to get, what an impact this is going to make on campus life," Ortt said.
Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said, "What I see here is a collaboration center. A place that the students can come to. A place that they can meet with professors. They can exchange ideas, they're going to want to be here."
Also, in attendance was Student Senate President Navaar Poole. Poole was excited to see what the possibilities the Learning Commons would bring to students.
Navaar Poole, president, NCCC Student Senate
"The new opportunity is the new experiences, especially for students," Poole said. "Basically it's an open area that students can come talk together, do different programs in it, also, for the new academic center of excellence, it's a two-way builder, so students can enhance their growth not only as a student, but as a person as well."
The Learning Commons received $12.5 million in government funding, but the rest came the generosity of a long list of donors. One donor that made a hefty contribution of $500,000 was the John R. Oishei Foundation. Blythe Merrill, senior vice president of the Oishei Foundation, was in attendance and excited to see the building come to fruition.
Blythe Merrill, senior vice president, John R. Oishei Foundation
"I am so thrilled to be here this morning for this long awaited ribbon cutting ceremony that marks a critical transformation on this campus," Merrill said. "The Learning Commons is transformational, not only in the services that are offered under one roof, but, also, in how it gets together the NCCC campus, to create a campus focal point. ... This project is a stellar example of what such sites provide to students in order to enhance their educational experience and ensure their college success.
"Through our $500,000 contribution, we are very pleased to be a partner in this important effort, and congratulate all who have been involved in this project that will bring great benefits to students and community alike."
For more information on the Learning Commons, or NCCC, visit http://niagaracc.suny.edu/. 
William L. Ross, chairperson, NCCC board of trustees
Robert Ortt, New York state senator
Assemblyman Angelo Morinello
The outside of the Learning Commons
A celebratory cake
First steps into the new Learning Commons facility

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