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Sands’ $3M donation largest in FLCC history

Reposted from the Finger Lakes Times

*Concept drawing of the planned Sands Center for Allied Health at FLCC (Photo submitted to The Finger Lakes Times)

HOPEWELL — Each fall, Finger Lakes Community College accepts 80 students for its registered-nursing program. That number, however, is only about 15 percent of the applicants in the highly competitive associate degree program.

With a region-wide nursing shortage, FLCC officials would like to expand the program. Thanks to the largest gift in the college’s history, they are going to be able to do so.

FLCC announced Thursday that the Sands Family Foundation will donate $3 million to more than double the college’s nursing program. That will cover nearly half the cost of an expanded wing at the main campus, which will be called the Sands Center for Allied Health.

“Nurses provide the foundation for the excellent healthcare we enjoy in the Finger Lakes region,” FLCC President Robert Nye said Thursday. “We are grateful to the Sands Family Foundation for its significant investment in the people who will maintain that high level of care for years to come.”

“Medical institutions play a major role in the social and economic vitality of communities,” added Richard Sands, co-chairman of the foundation. “The Sands family is proud to support FLCC’s efforts in elevating their nursing program to attract more nurses who will support our excellent hospitals in our surrounding communities.”

Construction of the Sands Center for Allied Health is scheduled to begin in mid-2021, with a portion opening by that fall. The rest of the project will open in stages through the 2021-22 academic year.

The Ontario County Board of Supervisors was expected to amend its capital improvement plan Thursday night to include the $6.8 million expansion. College officials said the vote is the first step in the approval process and is necessary to secure a $3.4 million state match.

In addition to the Sands Family Foundation’s gift, the FLCC Student Corporation has pledged $250,000 and the FLCC Association $200,000. The student corporation is funded with student fees; the association provides food service, housing and other auxiliary services to the college.

FLCC also will launch a certification program for licensed practical nursing; that can be completed in one year. The college anticipates scaling up to as many as 56 LPN openings per year within three years.

Thompson Health will partner with FLCC to provide instructors for both the RN and LPN programs.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to grow the number of LPNs and RNs in Canandaigua and across our entire region,” said Michael Stapleton Jr., Thompson Health’s president and CEO. “We are pleased to provide program instructors for this high demand program, and we’re grateful to the Sands Family Foundation for their continuing generosity and commitment to the long-term health and vibrancy of our community.”

The state Labor Department projects the need for registered nurses in the Finger Lakes region will rise from 13,250 in 2016 to 15,660 by 2026, an 18.2 percent increase. It projects an increase in the need for LPNs from 4,270 to 4,850 over the same period, an increase of 13.6 percent.

“We found we were turning away as many qualified applicants as we were taking in, and when you talk to people in the healthcare profession, in the Finger Lakes region there are now more than 500 jobs that could be filled immediately,” Nye said. “We are looking forward to being able to say yes to many more of our applicants, starting in 2021. This means more students finding good jobs when they finish here.”

The entry-level salary for registered nurses in the Finger Lakes region is $54,890. For LPNs, it is $35,380. Those numbers come from the state Labor Department.

The new wing will be a renovation and addition at the back of the main campus building, including a certified nurse assistant lab, patient bays for hands-on instruction for students, classroom and meeting space, and faculty offices. The project also features a health and wellness center for students.

The new wing will include a lab for instruction with holography. FLCC currently is piloting the use of holographic visors that allow students to view three-dimensional images of organs and systems in human anatomy and physiology, a required course for nurses.

The Sands Family Foundation awards grants in support of education, arts and culture, healthcare, and other charitable causes. Its officers include Robert and Richard Sands, the sons of Marvin and Mickey Sands.

“The foundation’s three pillars are health, education and the arts, and we’re certainly huge fans of education in general. We were very impressed with the FLCC leadership, Dr. Nye and his team, and they presented this project to us and we worked with Mike Stapleton from Thompson,” said Ginny Clark, the foundation’s executive director. “This is a huge opportunity to elevate FLCC and its programming for what the college wants to do with its nursing program. It’s something we felt very passionate about. Nursing jobs are not just needed desperately at Thompson, but all area hospitals.”

In 1945, Marvin Sands founded the Canandaigua Wine Company, which later grew to become Constellation Brands.

In 2009, Constellation Brands donated $1 million toward the expansion and renovation of the main campus, which was completed in 2013. The college named its main campus road Marvin Sands Drive in recognition of the gift. The Sands Family Foundation later donated another $500,000 to the project.


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