July 3, 2007

As work continues on athletic facility —

TC3 opens new fitness center


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer     
Keith Millman, a new media design professor, works out on a stationary bike overlooking the campus at Tompkins Cortland Community College in the college’s new fitness facility Monday morning.  

Staff Reporter

As the athletic facility at Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden nears completion, some areas already are being used, including a new and expanded fitness center.
Fitness center coordinator Daniel Squires said around 50 people have joined since the new fitness center opened June 6. The old facility is being renovated for a digital lab for new media design.
The facility is open to students and staff, and community members can pay to join the fitness center, as they could at the previous center. The new facility is larger and more equipment was added.
Monday morning, several people were faithfully working out. Among them was Keith Millman, assistant professor of new media design, who has paid nine visits to the center. “My office is next to the old facility. It’s funny, I never went there,” he said.
He said the fitness center has a rhythm to it, with older people showing up first and then around 1 p.m. students start showing up when they wake up.
“I come in the morning. It’s easier for me,” Millman said.
He joked that his favorite piece of equipment was the drinking fountain because he does not carry water with him. “The equipment is great. It’s all really great.”
Squires said there are several global students who come in to use the facility, but they generally come in during the evenings after classes are over for the day. He said about 80 members use the fitness center daily, except Sundays when it is closed.
He said during regular semesters it would be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Now it is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed during holidays. Although hours have not been extended, Squires said the center has added two part-time assistants and more student assistants will be added in the fall.
The center has two upright bikes, 10 treadmills, six elliptical trainers, two steppers, two stretch trainers and four arc trainers. It also has a new Cybex module, one piece of equipment that gives several options of exercises.
In addition, four of the treadmills and two of the ellipticals are new.
At the new facility there is also a new Smith press, a type of weight machine, which makes lifting weights safer because by turning the bar a quarter-turn, it can be locked into one of many grooves if the user has tried to lift too much weight or needs to quit for any other reason suddenly, such as an injury.
“It reduces the chance of injury,” Squires said.
He said there is about 3,000 square feet in the center, about double that of the old center. Dean of College Services Bob Ross said the new athletic building cost approximately $190 per square foot, making the estimated cost of building the fitness center roughly $570,000.
There are also two rowing machines, one of which is new. One is specifically for training for rowing in water.
And, the center’s free weights have expanded from having weights from 2 to 25 pounds to having up to 120 pounds of weight.
Jean Hoag, 66, and Judy Auble-Zazzara, 59, both from Etna, travel to the fitness center together.
Auble-Zazzara said she had a small heart attack before joining the center in the fall of 2005 to continue her therapy. “This is close to home. They’re really nice,” she said of the staff.
She said most regular exercising does not give a good cardio workout, which she gets at TC3 on the machines and in the pool.
Hoag said since she has been working out at TC3 her blood pressure and cholesterol levels have gone down and her hands are stronger. She also goes to the pool for water aerobics.
“I’m an easy-does-it person,” she said, noting she works out at a slow pace.
She said she likes to walk outside in nature, but cars travel too fast along the roadsides.
“We’re very welcome here,” Hoag said.
Squires said a new feature that should be hooked up later this week or early next week are 14 TV sets with headphone hookups on some of the treadmills, ellipticals and arc trainers.
“We did this for the customers. They can watch whatever they want.”



County prepares to buy site for parking

Staff Reporter

The Cortland County Legislature could finalize, as early as the end of this month, the acquisition by eminent domain of property along Elm Street needed to alleviate crowding at the County Office Building parking lot.
According to County Attorney Ric Van Donsel, the General Services Committee on July 10 will consider a number of “findings and determinations,” including any written public comment on the project, any potential environmental impacts, and a county-solicited appraisal, which should indicate the potential cost of acquiring the property.
If the committee decides to move forward with the eminent domain process, and the Legislature does the same at its July 27 meeting, the county could be given title to the property at 13-15 Elm St. soon after, Van Donsel said, as soon as he files acquisition maps and appraisals with the court.
Van Donsel could not say how much the property — which comprises two apartment houses and a garage on an 80-by-156-foot piece of land owned by Pierre Beaudry — would cost the county, but suggested the price tag could be less than the assessed value of $187,500, because the property has been condemned.
Van Donsel said he would be contacting an appraiser prior to the General Services meeting to get an up-to-date appraisal of the property.
The county would need to negotiate the difference between that appraisal and any appraisal offered by Beaudry to reach a final price, and if no agreement can be reached, a judge would settle the issue, Van Donsel said.
County Administrator Scott Schrader said he did not expect an appraisal to be ready in time for next week’s meeting, however he said he was hopeful Van Donsel would have one available in time for the July 27 session, to allow legislators to gauge how much the project would cost.
The county has proposed using the property for roughly 25 to 30 additional parking spaces in the County Office Building parking lot.
Schrader was not sure how many spaces are in the lot, but he said parking has long been an issue, particularly on high-volume days at the Office Building, such as when jury selection is being done or when there are senior citizen events, and in the winter, when snow removal can eliminate available spots.
“We’ve had a parking crunch here for years,” he said.
Schrader said that, should the committee, and then the full Legislature, vote to move forward with the eminent domain process this month, that would serve as final approval for the acquisition.
Once that approval is given, the county could move forward on soliciting engineering designs for the parking expansion, he said.
Whether work could begin this year would be dependent on the weather, he said.
No comments were offered Thursday during a public hearing on the project during the monthly Legislature meeting on the plan to take the property by eminent domain, and no legislator expressed concerns with potential environmental impacts of the project.
However, any written concerns received prior to the July 10 committee meeting will be considered by the committee and then the full Legislature, Van Donsel said.


County delays hiring firm to find psychologist

Staff Reporter

Plans to hire an employment agency to find a psychiatrist for the county’s Mental Health Department have been put on hold for a month, due to some questions at last Thursday’s Legislative session about the language in the contract.
The contract calls for paying, an online employment agency, $28,000 to find a qualified psychiatrist for the department’s clinic.
Legislator Sean Clark (D-2nd Ward), who chairs the Legislature’s Health Committee, said he withdrew the resolution from Thursday’s agenda because there were concerns among the Democratic caucus with the language of the contract.
Clark said that the Legislature just wanted to be sure about the agreement it was entering into, but that the resolution would likely go forward at the Legislature’s July 27 meeting.
“This is a big issue and we need to find someone soon,” Clark said. “More and more I’m seeing the impact mental health services can have on the community, and without a psychiatrist, we’re not going to be able to provide those services.”
Basically, Clark said, while the contract allows for either a replacement candidate or a refund of the $28,000 fee if the candidate provided by LocumTenens leaves or is fired within the first 90 days, the questions from legislators surrounded when payment would be made and when that 90-day period would begin.
Clark said he assumed that County Administrator Scott Schrader, who was absent from Thursday’s meeting, would be able to clear up any questions, but he did not feel comfortable putting the measure to a vote without Schrader’s input.
Schrader said this morning that payment would be due to as soon as a contract with the doctor was signed.
Meanwhile the Mental Health Clinic continues to refer patients to their primary care physicians for mental health prescriptions, said Mike Kilmer, director of administrative services at the department.
Kilmer said he was trying to work out a way to have Dr. Susan Watrous, who was scheduled to resign July 1, stay on at the department at least one day a week.
Watrous has been a psychiatrist at the county’s day treatment facility, Horizon House, and by being on staff there one day a week, Watrous’ presence as a psychiatrist would allow a certified nurse practitioner on staff at the clinic to continue to see some adult patients.
Kilmer said he was anxious to see the agreement with signed.
“At this point we’ve pretty much exhausted all our leads, so we need the Legislature to approve it,” Kilmer said. “I know $28,000 just to hire someone is a large pill to swallow, but we’ve got to find a doctor somehow.”



Recreation program to assist disabled

Staff Reporter

In an effort to increase the inclusiveness of the Summer Recreation programs, the Cortland County Youth Bureau is trying to reach out to the families of disabled children so programs can be tailored to individual needs.
The programs are spread throughout the municipal parks in the county, and run from July 9 to Aug. 10.
RoseAnn Coville, administrative aide for the Youth Bureau, said the program may not be reaching out to disabled children as much as it should be, and she hopes families will contact the Youth Bureau this week if a disabled child might be interested in participating in the programs.
“The problem is, our program is so widespread, we don’t know where the children are, what their disabilities are,” Coville said Monday afternoon. “If we know ahead of time who we are working with, we are going to be working with Access to Independence and ARC to coordinate the programs.”
Rob Ferri, an architectural barrier specialist with Access to Independence, said representatives of the advocacy group would be touring the recreation programs around the county and assessing the inclusiveness for the disabled. The staff members would also receive disability sensitivity training, he said.
Activities include archery, recreational games, arts and crafts, and tennis.
Without knowing what specific disabilities might be represented this summer, Coville said it would be difficult to ensure that children of all abilities would be able to participate.
“There is such a broad spectrum of special disabilities, we can’t prepare for every single one,” Coville said.
The schedule for the Youth Bureau programs will appear weekly on page 4 of the Cortland Standard, and is also available on the Internet at
Anyone with a disabled child who would like to participate in the Youth Bureau’s Summer Recreation program should call (607) 753-5067.



State to temporarily change I-81 patterns

CORTLANDVILLE — Starting Thursday, the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 passing over the Hoxie Gorge Bridge south of the city of Cortland will be reduced from two lanes to one lane for roughly a week.
Also, on Friday and Tuesday, the northbound traffic will be reduced to a single lane and temporarily use one lane of the southbound bridge.
The state Department of Transportation will be pouring the concrete deck for the new northbound span of the bridge that is under construction.
The DOT is replacing the existing, steel arch twin bridges that were built in the mid-1960s with two new bridges 160 feet high and spanning 700 feet over the gorge.
Last summer, the DOT built a new southbound span and demolished the old northbound span in September. Construction on the new northbound span began in May and the northbound traffic was shifted to the new southbound span.
The old southbound span will be demolished this fall as part of the two-year, $15 million project.