Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking of a new, state-of-the-art Integrated Science and Health Sciences Building at St. John Fisher College. The $14 million expansion will serve to educate more than 1,200 STEM and health sciences students at its completion by fall 2015 and create 60 construction jobs in the process.
The groundbreaking also marks the start of a $2.4 million renovation of the St. John Fisher College's existing Skalny Science Center, which will be completed in 2016. Both projects are funded in part by a $250,000 grant from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which directs the College's home Economic Development Region.
"This investment will provide opportunities to train and maintain a robust science and healthcare workforce in the Finger Lakes region at a time when New York's demand for skilled science and healthcare workers is growing to record levels," Governor Cuomo said. "This initiative fosters the formulation of new research collaborations with leading industry experts and is the latest example of how the Regional Council initiative is accelerating job growth by supporting investment in education and workforce development efforts in communities across the State."
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, The new Integrated Science and Health Sciences Building will provide invaluable hands-on experience to St. John Fisher Colleges students, preparing them to enter tomorrows job market and keeping them competitive in the always evolving healthcare industry. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and his leadership through the Regional Economic Development Councils, this new facility will serve as an economic engine for the region and meet the growth in workforce demand across all of New York State.
"The College has experienced tremendous growth in the sciences, in fact, we have seen our enrollment increase threefold in the natural sciences in the last several years," said Dr. Donald Bain, President of the College. "We recognize that in order to build for the future, we must expand our infrastructure of laboratories, classrooms, and collaborative learning spaces. And this new building will afford our students an opportunity to participate in even more vibrant and relevant programs, ultimately giving them not only a degree, but a very competitive edge as well."
The 31,000 square-foot Integrated Science and Health Sciences Building will include two 100-seat flexible learning spaces; teaching laboratories for general chemistry, biochemistry, and physical chemistry; a lab prep room; breakout space for student collaboration; cross-disciplinary research space; two multipurpose labs and core facilities for tissue culture, nanobiology, and aquatic research; additional meeting spaces; and faculty offices.
The new building is part of St. John Fisher College's "Building for the Future" initiative and is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified design. A rendering of the building can be viewed here.
"The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council is working hard to align workforce development efforts with sector needs," said FLREDC Co-Chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Market CEO Danny Wegman. "St. John Fisher College's new Integrated Science and Health Sciences Building will help the state and region meet anticipated job growth in healthcare, science, technology, and math-related fields. We applaud the College on today's groundbreaking and the project moving forward."
According to the SUNY Albany Center for Workforce Studies, the Finger Lakes region in particular is experiencing a significant shortage in clinical laboratory technicians, pharmacists and registered nurses. In the past seven years, the number of nursing, biology, and chemistry majors has nearly doubled and the College has hired 13 new undergraduate science faculty members. The College currently produces approximately 106 math, science, and technology graduates, as well as 164 undergraduate nurses. In the masters and doctoral programs, the Wegmans School of Nursing produced a total of 44 graduates this year, while the Wegmans School of Pharmacy doctoral program produced 76 pharmacists. Approximately 77 percent of college graduates in science and nursing end up working in the region and New York State. In addition, the number of students participating in research courses in the areas of biology, chemistry, or science scholars has increased from 80 students to 105 students from 2009 to 2014, a 31 percent increase.
The expansion of educational capacity at St. John Fisher College will also continue to increase access to the College for area residents. One-quarter of the study body is the first member of their family to attend college and almost 40 percent is eligible for Pell grants, which provide higher education financial assistance.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "Congratulations to St. John Fisher College on its groundbreaking. This building will provide students with a new educational haven where they can build the skill sets necessary to excel in key growth industries."
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, "Today's groundbreaking is a tangible demonstration of St. John Fisher College's commitment to preparing tomorrow's leaders and meeting the continued demand for highly-qualified health care professionals. In Rochester, as in the rest of the country, the health care sector continues to be among the fastest growing areas of the economy and this new facility will build on our existing assets and further strengthen our ability to improve patient care and outcomes. I applaud St. John Fisher College, Governor Cuomo and our many community partners for their commitment to ensuring the success of this project."
Senator Joe Robach said, St. John Fisher College is one of our regions fastest growing higher education institutions, particularly when it comes to Health Sciences education. The new Integrated Science and Health Science building will provide a state of the art learning facility for future nurses, pharmacists and other clinical professionals, giving them hands-on learning experience for life after college. I would like to thank the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for investing in this project, it truly is a win-win for the students and faculty at St. John Fisher, and the Rochester community.
Senator Ted OBrien said, The groundbreaking of St. John Fisher's Integrated Science and Health Building is the latest milestone in the exciting wave of innovation sweeping across the Rochester and Finger Lakes area. This new building, as well as the college's renovation of the Skalny Science Center, will bring new jobs to our community and equip our students with the tools they need to become entrepreneurs in our region's emerging science and tech industries. I congratulate St. John Fisher and applaud the Governor and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for investing in these promising new endeavors and a special thank you to Dr. Bain for his extraordinary leadership and the vision that has moved St. John Fisher College to new heights.
Senator Joe Robach
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, There is no question Fisher has grown tremendously in both its academic programming and physical footprint and this new facility is sure to position the College and our entire community well for even greater success. The outstanding work that will go on here and at colleges and universities throughout our area will play a major role in strengthening our local workforce for years to come. I thank the College, President Bain, the FLREDC, and all partners involved for helping to move this important project forward.
About St. John Fisher College
St. John Fisher College is a coeducational liberal arts institution located in Pittsford, N.Y. The campus is situated on 154 park-like acresa beautiful setting for 25 modern buildings and a warm, friendly campus community of 2,700 full-time undergraduates, 200 part-time undergraduates, and nearly 1,000 graduate students. Founded in 1948 by the Congregation of St. Basil as a Catholic College for men, St. John Fisher College became independent in 1968 and coeducational in 1971. As it moves through the twenty-first century, the College remains true to its Catholic and Basilian heritage. The College now offers 33 academic majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business, and nursing, as well as 11 pre-professional programs. Fisher also offers nine master's and three doctoral programs.
About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After three rounds of the REDC process, more than $2 billion has been awarded to job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 100,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.