For more than 30 years, Cayuga Community College has offered coursework in Oswego County, beginning with nursing courses in 1979 at the Mexico BOCES. In 1994, the College began offering liberal arts classes in rented classrooms in downtown Fulton. In 2001, the College moved into 50,000 square feet in the Fulton Commons mall on Broadway to educate the 500 students then enrolled.
In fewer than 10 years, student enrollment at the Fulton Campus more than doubled, reaching a total of 1,256 students in 2010. During weekday peak times, classroom utilization was at 100 percent, and fell just to 85 to 90 percent during the slow times. It was clear that the Fulton Campus needed more space. After a year of investigating possible sites, the College chose the former P&C building in the River Glen Plaza. This site adjoined an additional 28,690 square feet of storefront space immediately available for rental, and fit the criteria the College was seeking in its fourth and final move for the Fulton Campus – enough space to meet the current and future needs of the campus community.
Fourth and Final Home
In Spring 2011, the College, through its local sponsor Cayuga County, purchased the P&C property as well as 45 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the River Glen Plaza. A few months later, the College Foundation formed the CCCF River Glen Holdings, the non-profit subsidiary, to purchase the major portion of the River Glen property in Fulton. The Foundation invested $9.4 million to become the owner of the 25-acre plaza and the 124,000 square feet of storefronts. In December 2011, the College kicked off construction on the 82,150 square feet of space in the former P&C building.
The Faculty-Student Association (FSA) selected Barnes & Noble to provide bookstore services for the College, and Barnes & Noble developed a vacant storefront as the new bookstore for Fulton students. One advantage of working with Barnes and Noble is the ability for our students to have internships at the store and to attend its manager training programs. The FSA is looking into food service providers for the Fulton Campus. In the meantime, the bookstore features a Starbucks café and the student lounge provides vending machine snacks.
Vision for the Future
The new home for the Fulton Campus provides the potential to meet our future needs. Until then, two businesses will remain in the plaza and provide useful resources for our campus community. Kmart is committed to its lease through 2018, with an option to renew. In January 2012, the Dollar Tree renewed its lease through February 2014. For now, the College will expand into the vacant storefronts as able.
Our long-term vision is to convert the entire site into a collegiate campus, with a green quadrangle, trees, and informal outside spaces. The adjoining 45 acres could become athletic fields, student housing, or additional buildings. This new space will be the permanent home for our Fulton Campus, and an anchor institution for Oswego County. Our doors are open to the entire community.