Close to home: Ribbon-cutting highlights SUNY Broome’s satellite campus in Owego

Maria Bajwa

When she needed to take a statistics class, Maria Bajwa opted for an option close to home: SUNY Broome’s Owego satellite location at 56 Main St.

“It was wonderful. It was so close to home and I didn’t have to drive in very bad traffic,” said Bajwa, who graduated last month with a degree in Medical Assisting and will be completing another degree in Health Information Technology. “Being a non-traditional student, it’s a big blessing.”

SUNY Broome and Tioga County officials held a ribbon-cutting at the recently refurbished classrooms, located in the Ronald E. Dougherty Office Building, on June 7. The college began offering classes in the village in the fall of 2003, said SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm.

“Today we actually punctuate again our middle name – community – by rededicating this great space here in Owego,” Dr. Drumm said. 

The idea came about at a Town & Gown Conference hosted by the late Sen. Thomas Libous that was attended by then-President Donald Dellow and Tioga County representatives. After college and Tioga County Economic Development and Planning officials began discussing a satellite location, Professor Doug Garnar conducted a demographic analysis of Tioga County and western Broome County. He concluded that quite a few current and prospective students actually live closer to Owego than to the main campus, which is north of Binghamton.

“This is a powerful partnership,” said Tioga County Legislative Chairwoman Martha Sauerbrey. “Together, we provide an opportunity for students to achieve higher education at their own home or near to their own home.”

Cutting the ribbon at the Owego satellite locatgion

Both the number of course offerings and the number of students have grown through the years. Last year, the space underwent significant renovations, thanks to the generosity of the Mildred Faulkner Truman Foundation, which provided $25,000 in funding, and the Broome Community College Foundation, which contributed a $25,000 matching grant. Upgrades included a computer lab and furniture.

Renovations this year were of a more aesthetic nature, including signage and artwork that makes the space feel more like the SUNY Broome campus.

The Owego site has offered a wide variety of courses, including English, social sciences, biology, math, physical education and business. The Owego location cuts down on commuting time and expense for many students, allowing them to have more efficient class schedules as they complete their degrees – as well as benefiting their hometown by providing a more educated workforce, said Chief Academic Officer and Executive Vice President Francis Battisti.

“From an academic standpoint, satellite locations make a good deal of sense for a community college,” Dr. Battisti said. “It allows us to expand the borders of our academic community, and expand the opportunities for students.”