By Patricia Breakey
DELHI _ State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher donned a hard hat for a tour of the $19 million renovation of Farrell Hall during her visit to the State University College of Technology at Delhi on Monday.
Zimpher was on the 48th stop of her summer-long tour of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities.
She said every campus in the state system is "distinctive, different and outstanding."
Zimpher; state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope; Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford; and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, chairwoman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee; joined SUNY Delhi President Candace Vancko for a look at the construction that is under way at Farrell Hall.
Vancko said Farrell Hall will become a student-life center that will be the heart of the campus.
The project is funded by the State University Construction Fund and has received legislative support.
The features of the revamped building include an open centralized lobby, a food court with a panoramic view of the agora, a renovated theater, a conference room with valley views, expansive student lounge spaces, a fitness room, a student mailroom and the Barnes & Noble campus store.
Simmons Construction of Sidney is the general contractor for the Farrell Hall project.
SUNY Delhi's recent conference on open-source software was one topic Zimpher addressed.
She said the program "was a real opportunity for excellence to scale" to encourage the entire SUNY system to explore the possibilities of open source and the cost savings associated with the software.
"Our job, as an advocate, is to be more aggressive in sharing what is going on here," Zimpher said. "The ambitions of Delhi should be fostered _ but if you would like to try and hold President Vancko back, I don't think it is going to work."
Zimpher said SUNY Delhi is investigating and applying technologies in a rural setting. She said Vancko is striving to make the college a center of excellence.
Glick said Zimpher is a fierce and competitive advocate for SUNY.
"I have been going to some of the campuses, and each and every one is a gem," Glick said. "The state needs to invest more because public education is essential."
Zimpher's visit Monday also included a welcome reception with community leaders and college partners and tours of Delhi's academic facilities.
Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at email@example.com.