New energy on JCC campus in Olean as projects take shape | News


OLEAN — Like most colleges during the summer months, the SUNY Jamestown Community College Cattaraugus County Campus is generally quiet.

Dozens of community members filed into Cutco Theater for a Juneteenth presentation last month. Outside, work continued on the “Heart of Olean Mural” being installed on the Library & Liberal Arts Center exterior.

And, across campus, renovations were taking shape to transform the old train depot into a high-tech eSports gaming stadium that will house the college’s new athletics team.

The interior of the former Dresser-Rand Training & Conference Center has received a new coat of paint, new carpeting, and soon all-new gaming computers and equipment will be installed for JCC’s first eSports student-athletes.

JCC will join more than 125 teams competing in the National Junior College Athletic Association and more than 50 participating SUNY colleges. To the delight of many students, JCC opened its gaming club room last winter in College Center.

“As we began to look at what sports we could add without duplicating what teams we have on our Jamestown Campus, I started seeing, and I wasn’t the only one, that these esports teams were popping up around the country,” DeMarte said . “Shortly after we started looking, SUNY picked up efforts state-wide and the NJCAA sanctioned it as a team sport. Momentum started building pretty quickly. We thought maybe it makes some sense if we move into the eSports arena.”

JCC is aiming to hire an esports coach, athletics coordinator, and cross country coach for the Cattaraugus County Campus before the fall semester.

Looking ahead, Daniel DeMarte, JCC’s president, said the college will offer more in-person classes on the campus this fall than in any of the past two years. Jessica Kubiak, interim dean for Arts, Humanities and Health Sciences, confirmed that, saying in-person opportunities are up 10% over last year.

“When you collect all these things that are going on, you can see the excitement, energy, and curiosity building on campus,” DeMarte said.

JCC will again be able to provide food service on campus in College Center this fall after the pandemic shut down the campus cafeteria operations.

The Cattaraugus County Campus served a vital role for the Olean community and surrounding region during the pandemic. Paula Snyder, campus executive director, is proud that the campus hosted several clinics vaccinations with more than 13,000 doses administered. JCC, in partnership with BonaResponds, also was home to a Remote Area Medical clinic that provided dental, medical, and optical care for more than 400 uninsured and underserved individuals last September.

“Our nursing faculty and students helped carry us, and we became a great partner with the Cattaraugus County Health Department and other community organizations,” Snyder said. “Yet, while we helped our community through the pandemic, we didn’t lose sight of the future.”

And more projects are coming.

“The Cattaraugus County Campus is not only alive,” Snyder said, “but it’s booming with a project in nearly every building.”

DeMarte recently encountered a group of 17 students touring the Manufacturing Technology Institute, where they were set to begin classes in industrial maintenance technology. The college has also held similar short-term training programs in machining/CNC, with many graduates being hired by local manufacturers.

“Almost all of the students who enroll are finishing these programs and getting good-paying jobs,” DeMarte said. “We have to continue to do a better job of providing training that meets the needs of employers in our community.”

JCC also recently announced that it is accepting applications for the fall Erick Laine CEO Award program on the Cattaraugus County Campus. Selected students receive a paid mentorship with a local employer and other job-readiness training.

Inside Cutco Theater, upgrades to the sound system and lighting have already been made, while a new big screen has been installed to replace an outdated projector. The theater, lobby, and nearby Magnano Reception Center will also receive an aesthetic makeover.

DeMarte envisions hosting more community events, movie nights, and performances inside the revamped theater.

“People will have a better option for screening in meetings and options for training and performances,” Snyder said. “We’re working with the local theater companies and schools and business and industries to increase the usage. They have a really high-tech theater now to operate in.”

Outside, muralist Meg Saligman’s large-scale installation is expected to be completed by fall. Paint has been applied to two walls of the building, and the piece has the makings of an iconic gathering place for photos and exquisite views.

Snyder often ventures outdoors to snap a photo or two of the emerging mural. She’s excited about seeing the completed work and looking forward to what’s to come on campus.

“All these great initiatives,” she said, “are bringing back students and community members to our campus. It’s exciting to see.”

Enrollment is open for the fall semester at JCC. Learn more at sunyjcc.edu/fall.

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