FM looks towards future goals

Members of the Fulton Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees visit one of the science labs that was renovated during the summer capital projects following Thursday's meeting. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

JOHNSTOWN — With work on Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s summer capital projects concluding, the school is looking ahead to proposed projects for summer 2019 and finalizing the five year facility master plan.

Trustee James Landrio reported during Thursday’s board meeting that renovation work conducted on FMCC’s physical education building and science labs over the summer concluded before classes resumed on Sept. 5, leaving only punch list items to be completed now that the buildings are reoccupied.

The punch list items are not expected to interfere with the use of the college buildings.

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

The renovated labs feature smaller lab stations spread out across the room with seating for four students at each table. FMCC’s science labs had been in use since the 1960s and featured long black tables with sinks at the end, prior to renovations. Electrical wiring for the stations was installed below the floor, coming up to each table from below.

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.

In August, FMCC President Dustin Swanger reported that it was unlikely that fireproof glass windows in lab firewalls facing into the halls of the science building would be in place before school started after contractors received undersized panes of glass.

On Thursday, Swanger showed off the now completed science labs to the board and informed the trustees that the fireproof glass was received and installed before the first day of the fall semester.

Work in the physical education building included renovation of the locker rooms with new lockers, fixtures and tiling in the school colors. The size of the women’s locker room was also increased to be equal in size to the men’s locker room.

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

“I’m told the students and the faculty are very pleased with these improvements, so that’s a good thing,” Landrio said.

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

The FM Foundation provided half of the funds for the physical education building and the counties provided half of the funds for the science labs. The state is funding 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.

The school is currently developing the 2019-23 master plan, with a final draft expected to be prepared for comment and review by Nov. 15.

A prioritized facility need list was prepared by the master plan steering committee in August of the items identified for renovation or upgrading by the Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty and staff.

Under the prioritized list renovations would be completed in the science labs for the second phase of planned work and the theater in 2019, in the science labs the third and final phase of renovation work would be completed in 2020, and in 2021 the mechanical systems in the physical education building that have been in use since 1967 would be upgraded.

In 2022 technology upgrades across campus would be implemented and a cost study for other high priority projects would be conducted. In 2023 the patio area would be removed from the student union, existing fire alarms would be upgraded and water infiltration issues in the basements of the student union, classroom buildings and the lower level of the clock tower resolved.

FMCC is moving ahead planning for the proposed 2019 capital project that are estimated at $1.15 million for renovations to the Rao Theater and $1 million for the second phase of science lab renovations.

The FM Foundation has secured the required 50 percent matching funds for the theater renovations through a private donation and FMCC has requested the remainder from the state. The state has already appropriated the matching 50 percent funds for the second phase of the science lab renovations and the college is requesting the remained from county sponsors.

The design and planning process for the two proposed 2019 capital projects is currently being conducted by FMCC’s architectural consultant, JMZ Associates, with a goal of advertising for bids in January.

Work on the two projects would be conducted over the course of the summer from May 15 through Aug. 15.