Approximately 200 students, faculty, staff and supporters of Schenectady County Community College gathered today during the College’s Culinary Arts Addition Kickoff from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Van Curler Room, Elston Hall.
SCCC President Gabe Basil began the event, thanking the College’s supporters. "Today we celebrate the beginning of a very important project for the College, as we expand one of our signature programs. We thank all of you for your continued support and encourage you to watch us grow over this coming year," Basil said.
Architect Karl Griffith, AIA, President of Cataldo, Waters and Griffith, P.C., then unveiled renderings of the addition to the Culinary Arts area in Elston Hall on the Washington Avenue campus. The addition includes: two new labs, a dedicated kitchen for the Casola Dining Room, a seminar room where classes will be held and discussion will take place following banquets, and a new dining room. Currently SCCC has seven culinary arts labs.
Robert E. Ruggeri, Chair of the SCCC Board of Trustees, had this to say, "The Culinary Arts program attracts students, and employers, from far and wide. But now it is time for us to, as Emeril would say, ‘kick it up a notch.’ This magnificent renovation and expansion, and the facilities that will be housed here, will enable our faculty, staff and students to continue to do great things."
Several civic and governmental leaders were in attendance to lend their continued support to the expansion project.
Assemblyman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) congratulated the faculty in the College’s Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Department. "You have planted many a dream and allowed people to begin their walk along a career path," he said. He addressed members of the College community by saying, "You embrace the nomenclature of community in the most meaningful way."
Assemblyman James Tedisco, Minority Leader (R-C-Schenectady), reflected on his days taking writing classes at SCCC while a student at nearby Union College and said he was looking forward to returning to the College when the expansion is completed. "We couldn’t be more proud of this development. I’m looking forward to my first meal here (after construction is finished)," he said.
Vincent M. DiCerbo ‘74, Deputy Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature and a Member of the SCCC Board of Trustees, began taking classes at the College in 1972, when the entire campus consisted of Elston Hall, the former Van Curler Hotel. "Back then people knew about the academic reputation of SCCC and it’s only grown from there," he said.
Construction on the $6.2 million addition began in April 2006 and SCCC officials expect it to be completed for the start of the Fall 2007 semester. The expansion project is funded equally by Schenectady County and New York State. The College felt it necessary to create more space for Culinary Arts courses based on considerable growth in the program since its inception in 1980.
"Our Department thanks the sponsors for placing faith in our ability to educate students to fulfill the overwhelming job demand in Schenectady County, the Capital District and all over the world," said Toby Strianese, Professor and Chair of the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Department at SCCC.
Stefanie Plass, a Hotel and Restaurant Management A.A.S. degree major, served hors d’oeuvres to guests during the event as a student in Instructor Thomas Alicandro’s Banquet Management Operations class. "Obviously it (the expansion) shows that the program is very popular and it’s great for the College," she said.
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