Tour given of Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s renovations

Fulton Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger shows the Board of Trustees a renovated physics lab during a tour of the school's capital projects on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — Work on the physical education building and science labs is rapidly progressing at Fulton Montgomery Community College ahead of the fall semester.

FMCC President Dustin Swanger led the Board of Trustees on a tour of the ongoing renovation work being done in the physical education building and science labs during Thursday’s board meeting. Work began in May as part of the school’s $3 million capital project and is expected to be substantially complete next week.

Swanger said contractors would likely be a little behind their projected date to turn buildings over to the college next Monday, but it will not impact the beginning of the fall semester on Sept. 5.

“There’s obviously still a lot of work to do,” Swanger said entering a chemistry lab. “You can start to see the progress and really how the room will be laid out.”

Work in the science labs includes consolidating the labs that were previously spread out among two floors onto the third floor of the building and remodeling the existing space.

FMCC’s science labs had been in use since the 1960s and featured long black tables with sinks at the end, prior to renovations. Entering the chemistry lab on Thursday, board members viewed smaller lab stations spread out across the room, with seating for four students at each table.

“Compared to what the labs looked like this is a really big improvement in the lab,” Swanger said. “They can do their lab work and still see the instruction, where in the other labs they were always to the side, so really big improvement in the layout of the room and the instruction that can take place.”

Electrical wiring for the stations has been installed beneath the floor, coming up to each table from below. Valerie Elwood, the board’s student trustee, commented that prior to renovations students frequently tripped over the wiring and each other due to the layout of the stations, saying she is excited to use the new space this semester.

Swanger noted that professors talked to project designers about the challenges to instruction in the outdated classrooms before work started, with their input heavily factored into the composition of each room.

The labs also feature new cabinetry, storage cubbies for students to place their belongings during class, floor tiling, fresh coats of paint and instructional boards. Prep rooms for the labs were similarly renovated and tables in the physics lab were resurfaced for reuse.

One aspect of each of the labs that is unlikely to be in place when students return in a few weeks are fireproof glass windows in lab firewalls that face into the halls of the science building.

“All the glass came in too short, so it’s highly likely that they’ll have to put fireproof wallboard in the windows before the semester opens, then they’ll have to take it out and put in the glass when the fire glass arrives. It’s not just a pane of glass from Lowe’s, it’s fire glass,” Swanger said.

Leading the way to the physical education building, Swanger showed the board renovated locker rooms featuring bright new wall tiles in the school’s colors, lockers, fixtures and a more spacious layout. Before the capital project the women’s locker room was smaller than the men’s. It was expanded so that now they are now the same size.

The school also added locker rooms for visiting teams, new trophy cases in building foyers, updated treatment and equipment rooms, the gym floor has been resurfaced and the bathrooms and showers have been renovated.

“I think everything looks like it’s progressing well and will come together nicely,” Board of Trustees Chairman Ryan Weitz said following the tour.

The cost of renovations for the physical education building is about $2 million and remodeling the science lab is about $1 million.

The FM Foundation is providing half of the funds for the physical education building and the counties are providing half of the funds for the science labs. The state will fund the remainder of both projects

The buildings were identified for remodeling as part of the college’s master plan for the campus. The master plan is redrawn every five years taking into account maintenance requirements, groundskeeping, condition of fixtures and the need for improvement or modification.

“Both of those projects, the science labs and the P. E. building were a long time coming. They were very much needed on campus, so we’re very much excited about it,” Swanger said. “A huge leap forward for the institution, much of which I think will help us attract students, certainly the athletes. I think when you look at what we have now, compared to what we had before, it makes it a much more attractive option for students.”

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