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July 2009 Board Meeting Report

Illinois Valley Community College’s board Thursday moved a step closer to solidifying a future "full-service" presence in the eastern half of its district by granting the administration permission to continue working with Ottawa city leaders to draft a final agreement on a satellite center in Ottawa.

The board approved a business plan for the IVCC Ottawa Center that calls for a four-year lease on a 12,000-square-foot office building at 321 W. Main St. now occupied by Centrue Bank. The City of Ottawa is purchasing the building from Centrue for $700,000 and will renovate the facility to fit IVCC’s needs.

Vice President for Learning and Student Development Rick Pearce said IVCC will offer day and night transfer, CNA, continuing education, GED, ESL and citizenship courses at the site. Students will be able to complete all or most of the general education core courses at the center, he added.

"We will target specific local demand in our course offerings," Pearce said.

Trustee Michael Driscoll of Ottawa commended Ottawa Mayor Robert Eschbach, who was in attendance, Corcoran and Pearce for their vision and planning.

"I see this as a low-risk way to extend IVCC to the entire district," Driscoll said, adding, "I am hopeful it will enrich the entire community."

The building will include four classrooms, a computer lab, CNA lab and classroom, an assessment and registration center, and student services such as financial aid and counseling. Pearce estimated the shared costs in furnishings and equipment at $183,325. Instruction and staffing will be covered by the reassignment of current IVCC employees.

Ottawa may waive the first year’s lease to allow the college to use that money to market the facility. The college’s goal is to keep the remaining lease year’s fees at or below $10 per-square-foot, Pearce said.

A temporary registration and information office will open in downtown Ottawa in May and the facility itself will open with a full slate of classes Aug. 18, 2010.

The center may one day also offer courses from Northern Illinois University and other universities. Thursday the board was presented with letters of support from both NIU and Illinois State University.

NIU Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Development Virginia Cassidy said in her letter the Ottawa Center could potentially lead to "degree programs and other educational offerings" from the university.

IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said, "One year ago, I spoke of our marketing plan focusing on quality, cost and convenience. We already have high-quality faculty; we’re now the second lowest community college in terms of cost, and we’re soon going to have facilities that are very convenient.

"The fact Centrue and the city of Ottawa are willing to invest heavily in our satellite center plan speaks volumes about their commitment to lifelong learning and what this project could mean in terms of economic development for the region," Corcoran said.

In other business, Corcoran announced Congresswoman Debbie Halverson has secured $200,000 in the financial services appropriations bill for IVCC’s $30 million Community Technology Center project.

"We realize the bill needs to pass through the Senate and be signed by the president, but for right now, things look very promising," Corcoran said. The project, funded primarily by a $23 million capital bill appropriation, could result in as many as 210 construction jobs, Corcoran added.

In other business, the board approved:

  • The appointment of trustee Tom Setchell of Ottawa as vice-chairman and Driscoll as planning committee chair.
  • A contract with Great American Plan Administrators, Inc. as a third party administrator for the college’s 403(b) plan.
  • Separate bids totaling $746,200 from Vanguard Contractors of Pekin for restroom modifications ($610,500), replacement of the gym’s exterior doors, security cameras for the new Truck Driver Training Center and security surveillance improvements.
  • The total $379,174 in bids from JB Contracting of La Salle for the replacement of medium voltage transformers in Buildings D and E.
  • Additional instructional supplies for the biology lab totaling $15,500. The purchase is necessitated by a 25 percent increase in the number of students in this fall’s biology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology classes.
  • Negotiations with the American Federation of Teachers Local 1810 on a one-year contract for six instructors at Sheridan Correctional Center.
  • The tentative, fiscal 2010 budget. The budget will be formally adopted Aug. 27 following a 6:30 p.m. public hearing.
  • A resolution supporting nearly 300 workers at Arcelor Mittal Steel Mill in Hennepin and their quest to have Arcelor sell the facility to a buyer interested in reopening the facility as a steel rolling mill.

The board also learned of the hiring of Leonard Trujillo as the La Salle County network and PC specialist.

Corcoran complimented Gloria Bouxsein, Dean of Health Professions and Director of Nursing, on her final LPN pinning ceremony Thursday night. Bouxsein is retiring in December.

"The nursing program is the hallmark of IVCC and there’s no doubt that Gloria has given her heart and soul to our program," the president said.