Board will look at finance bids in March
Seward County Community College will continue to move forward with two major construction projects. At the February meeting Monday night, SCCC trustees voted 5-0 on two separate motions — to take the next step in funding with Ranson Financial, and to enter a contract with Architect One, contingent on review by SCCC’s legal counsel. Board member Stacy Johnson was absent.
Ranson Financial consultant John Hass reviewed details of a lease purchase agreement offering not to exceed $5 million. Following the closure of a public comment period, the board can now take next steps to obtain financing, Hass said. He cautioned the board that bids and interest rates might ultimately require the college to reduce the scope of the project or make a larger cash contribution. The resolution is structured with a strict limit of $5 million in order to keep the college’s debt-servicing total in line with responsible budgeting.
A copy of the initial resolution as adopted may be viewed at the SCCC library, and will be posted online via BoardDocs pending approval of the February minutes. The resolution will also be published in the college’s official newspaper, as required by law. Reason Financing will present bids and interest rates to the board at its March 5 meeting, at which time the trustees may vote on a resolution to authorize the issuance of debt servicing.
Participating by phone, architect Scott Gale presented the board with a stipulated-sum contract for design and construction services for both the Sharp Champions Center and the Colvin Allied Health Center, for a total cost of $499,000. By bundling site visits and design consultations, Gale said he was able to reduce the architects’ total fee to 6.19 percent.
Gale covered a detailed list of the two construction projects’ features, and addressed the possibilities of expanding or scaling back various costs on both. One example would be the weight room section of the Champions Center, which could be finished as a bare basement, and equipped as funds become available.
He also outlined the architects’ strategies to make the best use of less-costly metal building frames, adding thoughtful details to make simple structures a bit more interesting from the curb view, and appealing to students. In the Allied Health building design, for instance, Gale juxtaposed two rectangular buildings to create a wider hallway and commons area for students.
In other business, the board:
- Heard a report from SCCC Director of Admissions Bert Luallen, who described a new messaging platform that will enable admissions to communicate with prospective students in their preferred mode, which is text-messaging. Luallen also provided an update about high school outreach initiatives, including Basketball Nights at area schools, and Sophomore Career Days on the SCCC campus.
- Heard a report from SCCC Director of Athletics Roy Allen, outlining changes to the Student Ambassador program. In the future, SCCC coaches may offer some full-ride scholarships to athletes, with a requirement for work/service hours. Allen also noted the athletic department is continuing its “Most Valuable Person” program that recognizes SCCC employees who have provided help to athletes, as voted on by individual teams. “They can pick anyone at SCCC who has had the biggest impact on their college experience,” Allen said, “and so far, it’s been a great cross-section of people from all over campus.”
- Approved a change to Board Policy 203, the mechanism for annual organization of the trustees’ roles, in order to align with the new election schedule established in Kansas. Positions remained the same, with Ron Oliver as chair, Marvin Chance Jr. as vice-chair, Dr. Ken Trzaska as board clerk, Tina Call as treasurer, Mike Brond as vice-treasurer, and John Engel as board delegate to ACCT. Committee assignments continued as before.
- Approved the hiring of three new coaches, and the promotion/hiring of Alex Widener to director of TRiO/Student Support Services. Parker Thompson will be the assistant volleyball coach, Chad Butler will be the head cheer and dance coach, and Lachmond Bratton will be the assistant coach for men’s and women’s tennis.
- Reviewed an information-only summary of the new applied course fees across campus. Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Todd Carter noted there were few notable changes.
- Discussed the possible addition of a fire-science program in partnership with the county department, with Seward County Fire Chief Andrew Barkley. Chief Barkley proposed a concept to move the County Fire Station to the SCCC campus. The shift could provide a clear pathway for a possible partnership and development of a fire science program while having capacity to offer student internships. This concept links to a discussion occurring between USD 480 and SCCC around a Fire Science Program pathway. The board expressed interest in exploring the possibility of partnership.
- Unanimously approved the low bid of $20,000 from Wray Roofing of Newton to make repairs on expansion joints on the academic and activities buildings. The need for replacement was identified through testing and observation of these roofs. It was identified that the expansion joints had rubber cracking and were separating from sections of the roofs on these buildings.