East Central College trustees approved awarding a bid for renovation of the college’s Business and Industry Center, formerly known as the Gala Center, to K & S Associates. Action came at the board’s March 7 meeting.
The bid of $3,050,000 is for the base building and sitework, as well as fiber optic line extension to the facility, which is adjacent to ECC’s main campus in Union.
Five bids were received and opened February 19. After review, the bids from K & S was deemed the best bid for this project. ECC worked with K & S as the general contractor for the 2010-11 renovation of Buescher Hall which went well.
The federal Economic Development Administration reviewed the bid recommendation. EDA is providing $1.2 million in grant funds to cover a portion of renovation costs. The construction schedule calls for the work to be completed in order for the programs to begin utilizing the facility in mid-September.
In addition to the EDA grant, other funds for the project will come from institutional funds and money raised privately through the ECC Foundation.
The college purchased the Gala Center property last April for $1.2 million. The facility will allow the college to expand its technical education programs in Industrial Engineering Technology and Precision Machining which are currently housed at Four Rivers Career Center in Washington. The Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning program will also be relocated from the main campus to the renovated space. The Center for Workforce Development, as well as labs and classrooms dedicated to workforce training, are also planned for the renovated facility.
Security Fee Authorized
Beginning with the 2016 fall semester, a $4 per credit hour security fee will be assessed to some ECC students. The fee will not be charged to dual credit students and those enrolled in on-line classes.
Dr. Jon Bauer, college president, noted that the fee will provide sufficient revenue for the college to provide armed security on the main campus, fund additional security measures as deemed appropriate, and to enhance security at off-site locations.
“Colleges and universities across the country are faced today with the challenge of preventing campus violence,” Bauer stated. “Initiatives include training for management of campus emergencies, enhanced measures to detect potential threats and intervene as appropriate, steps to control access to campus facilities, and increased levels of security.”
For several months college administrators have been evaluating ECC’s present level of security services and determining the best course of action for enhancing emergency planning and campus security. The adoption of a security fee will provide the resources needed to implement initiatives related to armed security, emergency planning and facility upgrades.
College officials will now pursue contracting for campus security with local law enforcement. The plan for the main campus is to have an armed officer on duty at all times when classes are in session, and at selected times when activities on campus dictate additional security.
The lead campus officer will also be responsible for emergency planning and response. These ongoing duties will include security assessments of facilities and grounds, emergency response training, management of campus emergencies when they occur, serving as a liaison with area first responders, and coordination of emergency planning on campus.
In conjunction with the security assessments and planning, the fee will provide resources to fund appropriate facility enhancements to improve security and emergency response. These enhancements could include access control, building identification, emergency communications, and other measures.
The $4 per credit hour fee assessed to students, other than those enrolled in dual credit or on-line courses, will generate approximately $190,000 annually. The estimated cost for armed security, including salaries, benefits, supplies, and vehicle expenses at the main campus is estimated to be $170,000. Revenue produced in excess of these costs would be used to fund security enhancements on campus and at off-campus sites.
President Bauer said that the adoption of the security fee will enable the college to better address the security needs of ECC students, employees, and visitors. “We will come back to the board for approval of a contract to provide armed security once it has been negotiated with law enforcement,” he stated. “Our goal is to have armed security in place at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.”
Refinancing of a portion of the Series 2006 general obligation bonds will result in a net savings of $483,116 for East Central College.
A resolution authorizing the issuance of East Central College’s Series 2016 General Obligation Refunding Bonds was approved by college trustees at their March meeting.
“Because of a favorable interest rate environment, this is a good time to refinancethese bonds,” noted ECC President Jon Bauer. The issuance of $15.8 million of general obligation bonds for the construction of classrooms and other facilities for health and science programs was approved by voters in the East Central College District in August 2006.
George K. Baum and Company underwrote and financed the bonds. That firm worked with attorneys at Thompson Coburn to prepare the resolution.
Trustees approved a policy regarding animals on campus. The policy serves to distinguish between service animals and non-service animals, and provides procedures for both. Individuals may have service animals in the buildings, while non-service animals may be permitted outdoors on campus provided they are accompanied and leashed. Until now with a policy in place, college officials could not easily provide direction to individuals who wanted to have pets or non-service animals accompany them in the buildings as companions.
A collective bargaining policy was authorized providing methods for conducting union elections should other employees of the college wish to participate in collective bargaining. In many cases, the election would be handled by the procedures currently in place in the State of Missouri. For teaching personnel such as adjunct faculty, however, those procedures are not applicable. The new policy outlines a procedure for conducting an election should the interest arise. An existing policy was also retitled to more clearly define decertification as well as requests for a change in representation.
Expansion of Athletic Program Rejected
Trustees voted 4-2 against a proposal to reinstate men’s baseball. Twelve former East Central College baseball players spoke in support of expanding the athletic program offerings at the college. Many other supporters attended the board meeting.
Baseball was eliminated in 2001, as one of several budget cuts adopted in reaction to severe reductions in state funding.
President Jon Bauer told trustees that he did not recommend expanding athletics at this time. He noted that the college would need to add both a men’s and women’s sport to remain compliant with federal law, and that the estimated annual cost of two new programs would be approximately $200,000. The college could not expand intercollegiate athletics until the 2018-19 academic year, due to the existing commitment with NJCAA to offer men’s soccer and women’s softball and volleyball.
Funding the expansion would require an increase in the Student Activity Fee or a decision to fund athletics out of the college’s general revenue fund.
Resignations were accepted from three employees.
Eric Lawrence, assistant professor of mathematics, and Kristen Adams, psychology/
sociology instructor at ECC-Rolla will both resign at the end of the spring semester May 14. Trustees also accepted the resignation of Jon Thrower, associate director of the Learning Center, effective May 20.