Rochester, N.Y. – On Sunday afternoon, students at Monroe Community College were reacting to their school board's decision to move the college's downtown campus out of the Sibley Building and into an area Kodak currently occupies on State Street.
"[Sibley] is kind of crowded, kind of busy especially when you're a part time student and you’re just leaving work and you have to deal with all the traffic and parking," said Katrina Florence, who's in her second year of studying Public Relations at MCC.
"It's not really focused on the college atmosphere, so it's kind of different," she added about the school's current location downtown.
MCC currently occupies two floors of the Sibley Building, but the school’s lease on the space expires at the end of the month. The recommendation to move out of the Sibley Building would be a big blow for an area of downtown that has struggled to rebuild itself over the years.
"That area of downtown in particular has not really developed and has not been subject to the revitalization that other areas downtown have seen," said University President Dr. Anne Kress.
The new campus would occupy five empty buildings and up to 500,000 square feet at the Kodak complex. First though MCC would have to buy the building from Kodak and renovate the space at an estimated cost of nearly $75 million; Saturday's vote was not what Mayor Richards was hoping for.
"It can be scary at times, if you're in the building you're safe, but out of the building I mean anything can happen," said Jerry Reffell, who was studying for finals on Sunday.
Downtown enrollment at MCC is currently around 3,000 students. The school hopes to increase that number by 30 percent.
"In terms of parking and security-wise it can be tough, because there are a lot of people around," the 35-year-old noted.
But politics could play a major role in deciding whether the deal goes through, as many County Legislators said last week that they supported Mayor Richard's plan to keep MCC at the Sibley Building.
The recommendation now goes to the county government, which has to prepare a state-mandated environmental review.