There's more demand than space for student housing, so officials are planning two more housing units at College Village.
The expansion will provide housing for 42 more Genesee Community College students than the 389 accommodated now in the nine existing buildings.
College Village is owned and run by Genesee Community College Foundation Housing Services Inc.,
Director John Sisson shared the development plans with the Town of Batavia Planning Board last night. He said if site plan approval is granted Oct. 1, construction will begin almost immediately with plans to have the new units ready for students at the start of the 2014 school year.
Of course, any discussion of College Village quickly turns to the issue of fire department calls to student housing.
Sisson said the college is working very hard with students to reduce the number of fire calls. Last fall, there were 24 fire alarms at College Village. So far this year their have been 10.
Town of Batavia fire, an all-volunteer department, responds to each and every call of burnt popcorn, burnt grilled cheese and smoking pots of overcooked soup.
"When they get a call they want to come out," Sisson said. "They support coming to calls 100 percent because it's a high volume of people that needs extra attention paid to them."
College Village now offers cooking classes for students at the start of the year along with fire safety training.
First Assistant Chief Nate Fix conducts a fire safety class that is mandatory for all village residents.
"Nate Fix does a great job," Sisson said. "The students are there. They're attentive and they listen. I think you'll see a reduction in fire calls."
If there is a fire call, once construction is completed, firefighters will find it easier to get their new 80,000-pound ladder truck into the quad, giving the ladder truck access to all the buildings. The sidewalk into the quad is being widened to 24 feet, with concrete poured deeper to support the weight of the truck.
GCC is unique among the state's two-year schools because it attracts about a quarter of its students from outside its market area, said Rick Ensman, director of development and external affairs for GCC.
Even with the expansion, there will remain more demand for student housing than available units, he said.
"Housing adjacent the campus makes or breaks a decision to attend specialized programs," Ensman said.
UPDATE: The total cost of the project is $2.81 million, according to Ensman. That includes all planning, building, furniture, equipment, etc., as well as debt financing. The project will be funded through a private loan to the foundation and repaid through fees paid by students.