A ceremonial launch of construction Tuesday morning at one the four former Kodak buildings that will become MCC's new downtown campus.
Speakers shared praise for those who battled to place the college at Kodak, and expressed anticipation for future MCC students who will use the place.
"We all believe in downtown. And most importantly, we all believe in the potential of the students who will enter these doors beginning in the fall of 2017, said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks."
Asbestos and utility work complete, the Kodak legacy building had a barren appearance. However, in a couple of years, it will be home for MCC students in downtown Rochester.
College President Anne Kress welcomed the crowd saying, "When I walked across the street I thought 'Wow! This is really happening. Finally, this is really happening!"
She remembers the struggle to gain approval for a new campus.
"This was not an easy baby to deliver, and there were many times it would have been easier to turn away from the project."
Outgoing Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks is pleased she could see this milestone as part of her final days in office.
"Because we owe it to every person in Monroe County, who has the courage to dream of a better life and the understanding that a quality education is the path that will take them there."
Next month, construction can begin on flexible classroom space, a library, fitness center, bookstore and cafeteria.
"Having MCC in downtown Rochester very close to many of the neighborhoods that really need to access higher education is an incredible opportunity for all of the city, but also for all of our region, said Kress."
Kress pointed out that the renovated 78-million dollar campus will provide an opportunity to develop new programs. MCC will offer more than 40 degree and certificate programs and increase access to workforce development services.
County Executive Brooks also paid tribute to the spirit of George Eastman.
"So, I think he's looking down on us today and realizing that this is exactly the kind of purpose that he would envision for one of his iconic buildings."
She seemed to appreciate the symbolism of the day.
"It has been an honor, to play a role in the re-creation of a Kodak building, that throughout its history has stood for limitless potential, innovation and progress. This old building knows that there's still important work to be done here."
Kress agreed, saying, "George Eastman contributed incredibly to this region, as a philanthropist, with a deep belief that education was transformative. Everything that you will see at MCC's new downtown campus brings that belief into the future. We are honored to be partnered with that legacy...that legacy of Eastman Kodak."