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Frank Rizzo | Democrat

Elizabeth Kubenik of Sullivan County Community College makes a point at last Thursday’s Town of Fallsburg Planning Board meeting about the proposed new dorms at the college.

Call for housing is answered

By Frank Rizzo
FALLSBURG — January 22, 2010 — The Ruby Group, a Goshen-based developer, came to last Thursday’s Town of Fallsburg Planning Committee meeting to brief members on its plans for the Eco Community Housing at Sullivan County Community College.
Eco represents the first planned on-campus housing since the Lazarus I. Levine dorms were erected several years ago. Plans call for three connected buildings containing 24 bedrooms.
“The college approached us in the fall of 2007 about building housing,” said Peter Berman, a principal in the Ruby Group, which will lease the land from the SCCC Dormitory Authority.
SCCC Vice President for Administrative Services Elizabeth Kubenik was on hand to explain that the lack of housing on campus and in the surrounding area costs the college – which relies heavily on out-of-county students to swell its population – over 100 student admissions every year.
In addition, she added, “those who register late, and those who need another semester to complete their studies” have difficulty finding accommodations.
Planning Board Chair Arthur Rosenshein noted that community colleges have gained popularity due to the poor economy.
“The numbers are going up and the college is turning students away,” Rosenshein said apropos SCCC.
The Ruby Group is known for building one of the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum homes in the state just outside of Jeffersonville. LEED is a rating developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Platinum is the highest “green” construction standard.
Berman said the SCCC housing “would be LEED, but we can’t afford to build it Platinum.”
Berman was quizzed about the architectural style of the proposed structure. He said there will be changes (and thus the renderings pictured above might not show the final look of the dorm).
Berman will return next month to a board meeting with updated architectural renderings. An environmental impact study will also be completed before final approval. The county’s Real Property Tax Services Agency will then assign a section/lot/block to put the property on the tax rolls.
Sullivan County Partnership President Tim McCausland praised the “unique private-public partnership which will provide the college much-needed dorm space. [Ruby] will operate the facility on a for-profit model, which will benefit the Town of Fallsburg.”

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