Building Renovation Brings New Look To Cornell Co-Op

By: Shawn Magrath

NORWICH – Satisfying federal mandates to make its building more handicap accessible, the Cornell Cooperative Extension is giving a facelift of sorts to the 1960s addition of its Norwich home.

The Cornell Co-op has undertaken a major renovation project in the 50-year-old cinder block part of its building which extends from the rear of the original Victorian style building on North Broad Street.

The 60s wing will receive upgrades that bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and, to the benefit of the Cooperative Extension, make the building more energy efficient.

The Cooperative Extension currently leases the 60s wing to the Chenango County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Farm Service Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation District – all of which operate under the auspices of the USDA. And since renovations are in order to meet federal requirements for federal offices, the nearly $600,000 project is being paid entirely by federal dollars.

“Chenango County taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill in the sense that it’s not coming out of county funds,” said Ken Smith, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County. “If we had not been able to make these upgrades, USDA would have needed to go elsewhere; and without them, Cornel Co-op would not be able to keep the building.”

Smith said the renovation project will also allow the Cooperative Extension offices and USDA offices to reconfigure, giving each organization more space. Whereas space between the two entities had previously been split between the Victorian building and the 60s wing, the USDA will now be located entirely in the newly renovated wing while the Cooperative Extension takes the upstairs and downstairs offices in the orignal part of the building.

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