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If everything goes according to plan, a new roundabout at the main entrance to the East Central College campus in Union could be in place in two years.


At the August 26 ECC board meeting Russell Rost, Union city administrator, and Jonathan Zimmermann, city engineer, shared with trustees the details regarding construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Prairie Dell Road and Denmark Road. 


“We received a federal grant to improve .9 of  a mile of Prairie Dell extending south to Audrey Lane,” noted Zimmermann. “We’ll be able to realign the intersection with the construction of the roundabout.  Sidewalks would be installed on the east side of the roadway the length of the expansion project.”


“We’re well into the design phase now,” he said.  The City has contracted with the engineering firm of Horner & Shifrin to put together preliminary drawings, evaluate the existing intersection and provide recommendations.   


Brian Schmidt, engineer with Horner & Shifrin, said his company used data from the college on the number of students on campus during certain days and times, and also analyzed traffic counts on Prairie Dell.  “Based on our computer simulations, with the right timing of the signal at the Highway 50 intersection, traffic coming off Highway 50 approaching the college shouldn’t back up at the roundabout,” said Schmidt.  “With the current dual left turn lanes at Prairie Dell approaching Highway 50, the number of vehicles leaving campus that we show cueing at any given cycle during peak hours shouldn’t back into the roundabout.”


He noted that with the geometrics of a roundabout, traffic is slowed down.  “You end up with a safer intersection because you reduce the potential for right angle crashes and rear end collisions,” Schmidt said.   


Zimmermann stated that the City has submitted the plans to the Missouri Department of Transportation and requested a date to begin acquiring right of way.  “Right of way acquisition could take a year and that should be completed by next July,” he said.  “After right of way acquisition takes place we will be given authority to advertise sometime in the fall of 2014.” 


College officials will work with the city on timing of the project with the hope to begin construction after the end of the 2015 spring semester in order to have the project wrapped up before classes begin in the fall. 


While the Prairie Dell and Denmark Road intersection is closed for construction, access to campus will be to the south on Audrey Lane.


The redesigned entrance to the campus, which includes a dedicated right turn lane off of Highway 50, is included in the scope of the project so there should be no cost to the college.  


Union has already constructed two roundabouts.


Roundabout Design


Equipment Purchases


In other action at their August 26 meeting, trustees approved the purchase of equipment for the precision machining and graphic design programs. 


Students in the precision machining program will be able to utilize a CNC lathe auto bar feeder purchased from Haas Factory Outlet for $15,995.  ECC will be reimbursed 100 percent through the Missouri Manufacturing WINs grant.  An automatic pallet changer system was also purchased from Haas.  The $49,105 purchase will also be completely reimbursed through the MoManufacturingWINs grant.  


The equipment will give precision machining majors additional learning experiences with state-of-the-art equipment.


Vocational enhancement grant funds will cover 75 percent of the cost of a Fluke OneTouch AT IT-3000 Bundle which will enable the monitoring, installing and troubleshooting of ECC’s expanding fiber network utilized by students in multimedia and graphic design.  Three bids were received.  Trustees accepted the low bid of $17,095 from SDF Professional Computers, Inc.


The Missouri Vocational-Technical Education Enhancement Grant is administered by the Division of Vocational and Adult Education, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


The purchase of a blade server enclosure, four blade servers and switches, and a 12.6 terabyte capacity storage server to unify ECC’s three emails systems was authorized by trustees.  Fifty percent of the $72,362 purchase price will be reimbursed through the Higher Education Maintenance and Repair fund.  Installation and engineering by Dell for a Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory upgrade will cost $31,575.  The technical assistance will involve configuring and setting up the new email system for students, faculty and staff.  


Board members also reviewed major purchases made with funds from Missouri Vocational Enhancement and MoManufacturingWINs grants that were pre-authorized in June.  Over $78,000 in equipment was purchased from Dell, Industrial Concepts, LLC and Innovative Education Systems for the accounting and industrial engineering technology programs.   

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