PAUL SMITHS - A private college and university group is estimating that Paul Smith's College has a $64 million economic impact on the region.
The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities released a report that estimates the college itself pumps about $56.5 million into the local economy, between construction and direct spending. It also estimates that the college's students and visitors have an impact of about $7.4 million on the region and statewide.
"We recognize that we're a major player in the North Country economy, and we're happy to play that role," college spokesman Ken Aaron said in a phone interview Wednesday.
The survey estimates that in 2009, the college had about $4 million in construction spending, but Aaron said the impact may grow this year with a $7.4 million dorm construction project currently under way.
BBL Construction Services, the contractor heading up the dorm project, reports that there are so far about 94 workers from Franklin, Essex and Clinton counties associated with the project - not all on site, but as employees of companies working on it. In total, about 117 workers have had a hand in it so far.
"So they keep it local, but even the ones who aren't local will wind up coming up and staying in a hotel, or certainly eating meals while they're up here, so certainly the out-of-area employment has an impact," Aaron said.
About a third of the college's students come from outside the state - at least that was the case the last time Aaron checked in 2008 - and many come from outside the Adirondack Park, he said. It's hard to measure how much they spend locally, but Aaron said that since the college's Kat Kash program started in 2007, students have used it to spend $350,000 locally. Kat Kash allows students to use a card issued from the college like a debit card at participating businesses in the area.
The three northern New York institutions the CICU studied - Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University and Paul Smith's College - together were reported to have a $563 million impact.
The CICU is a group of private, independent colleges and universities throughout the state. The numbers, compiled by the Center for Governmental Research, are in most cases estimated from statewide numbers.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.