The roof of the main building of Tompkins Cortland Community College needs to be replaced ASAP according to TC3 administrators

About six weeks ago a leak was noticed in the main building of Tompkins Cortland Community College. A local engineering firm and a roofing specialist examined the roof and discovered that the entire top layer was coming unattached from the bottom layer; the 20-year-old roof would have to be replaced as soon as possible with the total cost of the project estimated at $3.5 million. 

“The only thing holding it in place and keeping it from being torn off in good wind storm is where it’s tied down at the edges of the roof, and if that were to fail we would have no way to keep rain out,” explained James Turner, director of facilities at TC3. “It could rip and kind of fold back to a point where it would hit something else on the roof, like heating equipment or skylights.” 

At its meeting June 21, the Tompkins County Legislature unanimously endorsed the project and a bond resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $1.1 million in serial bonds and notes. 


The main building houses administrative offices, classrooms, faculty suites, laboratories and a library. The college was anticipating that it would have to do something to fix the roof on the 42-year-old building within the next three or four years but was not expecting the need for a total replacement this year, according to Carl Haynes, TC3 president. 

The State University of New York will pay half the cost of the new roof. If the project moves forward as planned, Tompkins County will pay 63 percent of the remaining half ($1.1 million) and Cortland County will pay the other 37 percent. 

“We’ve been in contact with SUNY, and there are some emergency funds available for just this kind of need,” said Haynes. He explained that even though the community college is not a state institution, the state shares an investment in it with its capital sponsors, the two counties. He said SUNY assured TC3 that as long as the two counties were in agreement the college would not have to go through the usual approval process but could receive funding right away. 

“I think it’s one of those situations where we wish we had a little more notice, but we’re trying to protect our building, and it’s a pretty important asset for both counties,” said Michael Lane, chair of the Tompkins County Legislature. 

Cortland County is expected to authorize the project at its legislature meeting Thursday. “Assuming all goes well and they approve the project, by early July we’re looking at starting the design phase, and following that it will go up to bid by late August,” Haynes said. “We’ll award the bid by the early part of the fall, and hopefully we can get that done before the snow flies in a serious way this winter.”

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