Board tours campus capital projects

The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees on Thursday tour the Perrella Art Gallery where renovations are underway as part of FMCC's 2019 capital project work. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)


OHNSTOWN — The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees on Thursday toured areas of the school that are currently undergoing renovations as part of the summer 2019 capital projects being completed on campus ahead of the fall semester.

Leading the tour was retiring FMCC President Dustin Swanger who during his final meeting as head of the college showed the Board of Trustees the progressing capital project work on the campus.

“I like to have you see it as we go through the construction phase,” Swanger said. “It’s coming along.”

Work being completed at FMCC this summer includes renovation of the Perrella Art Gallery located in the visual arts and communications building where outdated carpeting has been removed and will be replaced with hardwood floors. To prevent potential sound disturbances from the altered flooring, soundproofing materials will be installed on the ceiling.

The gallery will also receive security cameras for the first time as part of the capital project to protect exhibited artwork in the gallery that is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays until 9 p.m.

The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Board of Trustees on Thursday tour what will become a chemistry lab following ongoing renovation work as part of FMCC's 2019 capital projects. The lab will feature small lab stations spread across the room for up to four students to complete lab experiments powered by utilities installed below the floor. Work on the capital projects is targeted for completion on Aug. 20 ahead of the first day of classes for the fall semester on Sept. 4. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

Just down the hall the college’s theater is undergoing extensive renovations and will be rebranded as the Rao Theater following a massive overhaul that was funded in part by a $500,000 donation from Dr. Govind Rao of Amsterdam. Stewart’s Shops also provided a $75,000 donation for the theater and gallery projects. Both contributions were matched by state funds, with no cost to Fulton and Montgomery counties for the theater or gallery projects.

Work on the theater includes the replacement of the existing theater seats that have been removed since the close of the spring semester, the theater is also in the process of being repainted and ceiling “clouds” that obscure electrical work while providing soundproofing have been repositioned to make existing lighting banks accessible and structural supports have been reinforced.

The theater will also receive new carpeting and the existing stage thrust forward extension has been removed and will be replaced with a collapsible stage thrust that can be put up and taken down as needed.

Technology in the theater space will receive a major upgrade from a new control system, new sound system and retrofitting of the existing light fixtures with LED bulbs. Recessed stage boxes are also being installed to house wiring and electronic equipment below the stage to prevent having to run wiring across the top of the performance space.

“We’re really bringing it into the modern era for a theater,” Swanger said.

In O’Connell Hall, work is progressing on phase two of the college’s three phase project to reconfigure and upgrade the science labs. Work on the third floor labs was completed in 2018 and renovation work this summer is currently being completed on the second floor where existing general and organic chemistry labs will be converted into a microbiology and chemistry lab respectively.

Work on the labs to date includes the removal of asbestos and the installation of electrical wiring and utilities below the floor that will come up to small lab stations that will be installed across the room with seating for four students at each station. The chemistry lab will also feature exhaust hoods to provide ventilation, preventing exposure to potentially harmful fumes or vapors.

Each lab will feature a smart board for instructional purposes and fireproof glass windows will be installed in the lab firewalls facing into the halls of the science building. A prep room is being constructed between the two labs for use by instructors. The prep room and both labs will each receive new flooring, fresh coats of paint, new cabinets and other needed fixtures.

“Our chemistry teacher is so excited about this change,” Swanger said.

Work on the science labs is estimated at $1 million with half of the funds coming from county sponsors and the other half to be matched by the state. The third and final phase of the science lab renovations is expected to take place during summer 2020.

The areas of the campus undergoing renovation as part of the capital project work 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.

Work on FMCC’s summer 2019 capital projects is targeted for completion by Aug. 20 to provide college staff time to reoccupy the spaces before the first day of classes for the fall semester on Sept. 4.