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Golisano eyes opening a business school in Brighton

Billionaire philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano wants to start a business school in Brighton.

But first he needs to clear some regulatory hurdles.

The school is proposed for a building formerly occupied by Paychex opposite Empire State College on Westfall Road.

Jerry Goldman, the attorney and agent for the recently incorporated Golisano Business Center of Excellence, told the Brighton Planning Board that the school would offer a two-year program

“It will be a very intensive program,” Goldman said. “And the cost to attend will be significantly less expensive than a traditional four-year program.”

Golisano is developing the concept, which is focused on areas of working in or running a business, records show. The curriculum is in development.

“At this point, this is not intended to be a degree-bearing facility,” Goldman told the board. “We expect that graduates will come out with a certificate.”

But first the town of Brighton must grant a conditional use permit. Town code allows for a school in that area as a conditional use. The question is whether a school must be state-licensed – and whether Golisano will seek such a license.

His representatives declined comment through a spokeswoman. As of Tuesday, no application had been submitted to the state Department of Education.

If opened, the school is expected to enroll 250 students the first year, eventually grow to 500, and employ 50 to 60 staff and faculty, records show. Upward of 650 people previously worked at the building.

The town Planning Board tabled the matter and could take it up again in September. Monroe County also is reviewing the proposal.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.