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SCCC board OKs design for $28.5M college building

Suffolk County Community College's Selden campus is about to get its first new building in 37 years - a dramatic-looking, $28.5-million life science building nestled into a campus hillside with a huge glassed-in greenhouse overlooking a man-made brook.

The college's board of trustees voted Thursday to approve the $1.275-million design contract for the three-story structure with BBS Architects and Engineers of Patchogue, which won a design competition that involved a dozen firms.

The selection of a local company will avoid the dispute that arose several years ago when the college - despite a local preference law - picked a Connecticut firm to design a new library for the college's East End campus. That building is expected to break ground soon.

The 68,500-square-foot life science building will have 20 classrooms, lab space and two lecture halls with screens overlooking open-space areas.

The county legislature's resolution appropriating the money for the project - which will be 50-percent funded by the state - could be acted on as early as the March 2 meeting in Riverhead. Architect Roger Smith said he expects the project's completion in September 2012.

The new building will be the first major new construction on campus since 1973. The college opened in 1960. The new building will replace the college's Smithtown Science Building, which will become administrative offices and classroom space.

College officials also warn that many of the college's buildings constructed in the suburban boom years of the 1960s and '70s will need renovation. College officials say they expect to ask for $10.3 million each year for the next three years to begin work.

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