SUNY Announces Groundbreaking of $7.2 Million Nursing School Expansion at Finger Lakes Community College, Increasing Enrollment by 60%

June 8, 2021

Enhanced Facility Will Allow for Launch of Licensed Practical Nursing Program 

Funded in Large Part by $3.4 Million New York State Capital Investment and $3 Million Donation from Sands Family Foundation—the Largest Single Donation in FLCC History

Photos from Today's Ribbon-Cutting and a Rendering of the Facility Available Here

Canandaigua, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras today announced the groundbreaking of a $7.2 million project to expand and renovate the nursing school at Finger Lakes Community College. Set to be completed in phases throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, the Sands Center for Allied Health will include a brand-new wing and extensive improvements to the existing space.

The expansion will increase enrollment in FLCC's registered nursing (RN) program by 60 percent, helping meet the demand among both prospective nursing students and local healthcare systems looking for talented and qualified nurses. FLCC will also be able to launch its licensed practical nursing (LPN) program with the expansion. Thompson Health—which employs a number of FLCC nursing graduates at FF Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua—will provide a faculty member for the LPN program.

The New York State Department of Labor projects the need for registered nurses in the Finger Lakes region alone will rise from 13,250 in 2016 to 15,660 by 2026, an 18 percent increase. The projection across the state for RNs is about a 25 percent increase from 2018 to 2028, and the NYS DOL projects the need for LPNs from 4,270 to 4,850 over the same period, a 13.6 percent increase.

"The pandemic proved once again that nurses are the heartbeat of the healthcare system. By expanding and improving the nursing facility and providing students with access to the most state-of-the-art technology, Finger Lakes Community College will enroll and graduate more nurses, many of whom will go right to work in the Finger Lakes area and its surrounding communities," said Chancellor Malatras. "When synergy exists between higher education, healthcare, philanthropy, and the public sector—we can solve educational and workforce demand issues in critical fields like nursing—allowing talented people to learn, grow, work, succeed, and serve our communities in a truly meaningful way. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Sands Family Foundation for its gift—the largest in FLCC history, President Nye for his leadership, as well as to Thompson Health and Empire State Development for their continued partnership."

SUNY Board Trustee Robert J. Duffy said, "SUNY's community colleges are centers for academic excellence and key collaborators with businesses and organizations to both drive economic growth and serve the current and future needs of our communities. Finger Lakes Community College continues to be just that for Canandaigua and this region, and with significant New York State investment and private donations the college will be well positioned to educate the next generation of nurses. My thanks to the Sands Family, as well as President Nye and his team, for their commitment to make this expansion a reality."

New York State's chief economic development agency, Empire State Development, contributed $3.4 million to the project. The Sands Family Foundation donated $3 million—the largest single gift in FLCC history. The FLCC Student Corporation pledged $250,000, while the FLCC Foundation and the FLCC Association are both contributing $200,000.

Major additions and enhancements include a larger nursing simulation laboratory with more patient bays for hands-on instruction, a holography lab allowing students to learn about anatomy and physiology using three-dimensional images, and the construction of a new health and wellness center that will merge student health services, counseling services, and the campus food pantry.

Chancellor Malatras and SUNY Board Trustee Duffy joined FLCC President Dr. Robert K. Nye; Sands Family Foundation Officer and Executive Vice Chairman of Constellation Brands, Richard Sands; Thompson Health Chief Executive Officer Michael Stapleton; FLCC nursing students and alumni; and local leaders for today's groundbreaking.

Robert K. Nye, President of Finger Lakes Community College, said, "We are so excited and grateful for the support and partnerships with the Sands family, Thompson Health, and Ontario County to create the Sands Center for Allied Health. This project expands our nursing program and other related health care programs to educate the skilled healthcare providers who will help ensure a high quality of life for our community."

Richard Sands, Sands Family Foundation Officer and Executive Vice Chairman of Constellation Brands, said, "When our father, Marvin Sands, founded Canandaigua Wine Company, the precursor to Constellation Brands, 80 years ago, he knew that the business would only be successful if we could also make a positive and lasting difference in our community. As a family, we are committed to his ethic of care by offering a strategic, long-term approach to building up the institutions that form the foundation of strong communities."

Michael Stapleton, Thompson Health Chief Executive Officer, said, "With a designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet® hospital, F.F. Thompson Hospital prizes nursing excellence. We boast a number of FLCC graduates on our staff and they are among our finest associates, throughout not only the hospital but in our skilled-nursing facility, our urgent care centers, and our primary care practices as well. Like FLCC, Thompson Health has a longstanding history with the Sands family, and I am proud to represent our health system as we celebrate their generosity and this incredible expansion of the college's nursing program. At a time when nurses are more vital than ever, it will benefit not only Thompson but our entire region for years to come."

Shantaye Burkholder, second-year student, said, "Nursing is my career path—I have no doubts and I want to be the best for myself and my future patients. It was Finger Lakes Community College's reputation that drew me here, and this expansion of the facility and the program proves to me their commitment to this noble profession."

Heather Reece-Tillack, Chair, Finger Lakes Community College Nursing Program, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has led to innovations in our teaching and learning experiences at FLCC, but more importantly, it has shown us the significant role nurses play in our health care system. Nurses not only provided exceptional care to those suffering from a frightening illness, they did so with great compassion. I am proud of the work we are doing here today to broaden and enhance our program as we begin our next 50 years of nursing education at FLCC."

The Sands Family Foundation is a private family foundation that awards grants in support of education, arts and culture, health care and other charitable causes. Its officers include Robert and Richards Sands, the sons of Marvin and Mickey Sands. In 1945, Marvin Sands founded the Canandaigua Wine Company, which later grew to become Constellation Brands.

In 2009, Constellation Brands donated $1 million toward the expansion and renovation of the main campus, which was completed in 2013. The college named its main campus road Marvin Sands Drive in recognition of the gift. The Sands Family Foundation donated an additional $500,000 to that project in 2011.

About FLCC

Finger Lakes Community College ( is a State University of New York two-year higher education institution. FLCC's 250-acre park-like campus is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes in Canandaigua, N.Y. The College offers 60 degree and certificate programs, including environmental conservation, horticulture, music recording technology, nursing, communications, graphic design and viticulture and wine technology. Finger Lakes Community College does not discriminate in its employment and educational processes. Details at:

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree-granting program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

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