Improvements wrap up around campus

Athletics, humanities, dorms, and grounds see positive change

Students at Seward County Community College starting classes Aug. 15 will come back to a campus that’s been significantly upgraded over the summer. At their regular monthly board meeting Monday, trustees heard details about the many projects nearing completion.

Work on the Greenhouse gymnasium sound system is complete, and the resulting upgrade is “astonishing,” said Interim Athletic Director Roy Allen and Chief Information Officer J.J. Widener. “We’re going to have to upgrade the music we play in there, because you can hear every little thing,” Allen said. Improvements to the gym and athletic department also included a new score table, and new lockers and locker room furniture for men’s and women’s sports.

On the personnel front, the athletic department also welcomed new coaches Jason Sautter (head) and Luke Adams (assistant) to men’s basketball, Carisa Owens to dance and cheer, Abby Bolton as interim head softball coach, and Saints MBB alum Carlo Walton as the assistant coach for women’s basketball.

Dorm renovations to the student Mansions complex are wrapping up, reported VP of Student Services Celeste Donovan.

At this time, six available spots remain in the Student Living Center housing options at the college. In addition to work on the Mansions, parts of Hale Court housing are still being renovated. Maintenance expects those projects to be complete by Sept. 1.

“We’re excited to see the improvements, which will be something we can feel really proud of when we show the student living options to students and parents,” Donovan said.

SCCC students who live in student housing can do laundry at no additional charge, thanks to new facilities installed last spring. Other improvements in the works include key cards for advanced security in student living, and multiple expansions for on-campus dining, including healthy vending, filtered water refill stations, and renovations to the Great Western Dining cafeteria services with more choices, specialty bars, and demonstration cooking on select days.

Louie’s Place, the student cafe and coffee stop at the Industrial Technology Campus, is nearing completion, reported Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander.

Structural renovations have been completed in the old “snack bar” area, and the project is now ready for equipment to be installed. Once complete, Louie’s Place will offer a modified C-Store with grab-and-go foods, coffee, and, in partnership with the Saints Bookstore, a selection of supplies for students.

Community members will also see a fresh look on the Great Western Dining truck, part of the collaboration between the college’s contractor for food services and the SCCC itself. Completing a year-long project that included “wrapping” two new semi truck cabs and trailers used by SCCC’s truck driving students, and refacing of area billboards, the college “wrapped” the little white truck that provides daily catering service runs to area events, preschools, and more.

Work in the Showcase Theater continues, with lights and sound components being installed. Once that phase wraps up, said Sander, “we’ll get the elevator in for the tech side of the theater, and that’s going to be a huge improvement.” With a new theater instructor ready to cast a local version of the classic play “Our Town,” community audience members will soon be able to enjoy the improvements in the Showcase Theater — clearer sound, and impressive lighting that makes the most of student talent, all delivered in a code-compliant environment.

The SCCC campus overall has seen several improvements over the summer. Work continued on the Trail System, a joint project of SCCC and the Liberal Area Coalition for Families. Restriping in the parking lots should improve traffic flow and safety, in concert with the college’s parking permit system that has been bundled into the student fee structure rather than requiring each person to take separate steps. The re-seeding of the lawn and landscaping on the west side of the Hobble Academic Building is nearly complete, with new grass soaking up local rainfall.

Several changes have recently been implemented at the Wellness Center, with instructor Alli Lyon taking on supervision of the pool, and Director of Student Life Wade Lyon handling everyday management. The two presented a report that evaluated the Wellness Center’s hours of availability and staffing needs. In the past year, Wade Lyon noted, the Wellness Center cost the college $37,000 to run, which prompted a recent restructuring.

“By cutting the hours slightly, we can reduce staffing costs,” he said. The report also recommended increases in pool use fees, in order to level the field. Liberal High School will add a boys’ swimming team to its athletic roster in 2017, joining the girls’ team, and the local Southwest Aquatics Team, the Piranhas, for children and teens.

The board voted unanimously to approved the proposed changes to the Wellness Center, which are expected to save the college around $20,000 per year, minimum, and possibly far more.

Changes to Wellness Center operations will be as follows:

Current hours for both the Wellness Center and the swimming pool, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday will CHANGE to new hours at the Wellness Center, of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday; the Wellness Center will close on Sundays.  New hours for the swimming pool will be 6-10 a.m., 12-2 p.m., and 4-8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. In cases where the various public school and public swim teams reserve the pool for practice, changes to public pool availability will be announced.

The complete proposal for Wellness Center use and fees may be viewed as part of the meeting agenda posted on Board Docs, via the > about >  Board of Trustees > meeting dates portal on the college website.

“Changes like we have made at the Wellness Center are never easy, but it’s important to be accountable to the taxpayers,” said SCCC President, Dr. Ken Trzaska. “We hope the changes will allow the Wellness Center to more effectively and consistently serve the community and our stakeholders.”

Categories: Campus, Louie the Saint, Student experience

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