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Ritchie helps SUNY Canton secure $1.5 million

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CANTON — SUNY Canton has received $1.5 million for improvements to its dining center and the school’s nursing program from SUNY’s capital appropriation of the state budget.

State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, said Monday afternoon that she secured $3 million for both SUNY Canton and SUNY Oswego.

SUNY Canton has been in conversations with Sen. Ritchie for weeks, according to Lenore E. VanderZee, SUNY Canton executive director for university relations.

Of the total, $1 million will go toward the rehabilitation of its dining center and $500,000 will go toward expanding the nursing program.

Ms. VanderZee said the school has plans drawn up for upgrades, but hasn’t had the capital funds to start the projects.

The dining center is in need of a new roof, greater accessibility for people with disabilities and upgraded kitchen equipment.

“It needs to be handicapped-accessible,” Sen. Ritchie said. “The college has grown over the past few years and there’s a real need there.”

The remaining $500,000 will go toward establishing a clinical facility on campus for the nursing program.

Ms. VanderZee said the college had to downsize the number of students coming into the program for this upcoming semester because there are not enough clinical opportunities for them in the area.

“Health care is such a priority for this region, and we play a large role in getting nurses out to the communities,” she said.

Ms. VanderZee said the money will allow for renovations to a campus facility and for simulation beds. The simulation center will allow students to “have hands-on experiences with real-world illnesses.”

She said the dining center project still needs approximately another $7 million, but college officials are not expecting the simulation center to cost much more than the $500,000 funding.

“It gives an opportunity for local students to keep enrolling in the nursing program,” Sen. Ritchie said. “The students who have lived here their whole lives and have family here are more apt to stay in the area once they graduate.”

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