December 2009 Board Meeting Report

By approving a five-year lease on an IVCC Ottawa Center, the Illinois Valley Community College board Thursday consummated a pact that will create the first full-service satellite campus in the college’s 85-year history and “life-changing opportunities” for the students who take advantage of it.

Next fall, IVCC will offer a full slate of transfer courses, CNA, adult education and continuing education offerings at the center, a 12,000-square-foot building at 321 W. Main St. that is currently an operations center for Centrue Bank.

“I want to thank not only our board but Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach, the Ottawa City Council, Ottawa Economic Development Director Reed Wilson and Centrue Bank for making this historic initiative possible,” said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran.

“The time, thought and energy that have gone into making this dream a reality has been extraordinary,” he added.

Corcoran also credited former Ottawa residents Jim Downey of California and Mike and Elizabeth Hess of Louisiana who are contributing $100,000 and $200,000 respectively for the building’s renovation.

Addressing the board, Mayor Eschbach said he considers the Center “an economic development project” for his city and a place where students will discover “life-changing opportunities.”

“This will make your tag line, ‘No place so close can take you so far’ even more meaningful for our residents,” Eschbach said.

IVCC believes the downtown campus will attract not only students from Ottawa but also Streator, Seneca, Marseilles, Grand Ridge, Serena, Sheridan and elsewhere.

“It has long been our college’s dream to provide better access to the eastern half of our district,” said Corcoran. “With the number of courses we have planned, the experienced instructors who will be teaching and the services we’ll provide such as registration, counseling and financial aid — Ottawa Center will have everything the serious student needs.”

For example, the college plans to offer all the general education courses students will need to transfer to four-year universities and colleges and may be able to earn their associate’s degree by taking only Ottawa Center classes.

In other business, the board opted not to include the child care center in the construction budget for the proposed Community Technology Center (CTC). With the childcare center’s east campus Building 5 set for demolition in 2013, the college will work over the next three years to find a new location and explore partnerships with district schools, agencies and childcare providers, Corcoran said.

“No one is questioning the value of the Early Childhood Education Program — we are committed to the program. No one is questioning the value of childcare, or the quality and commitment of our faculty and staff,” Corcoran said.

However, with just 10 of IVCC’s more than 5,000 students currently using the center, the real issue, Corcoran said, is the $400,000 price tag for renovating and moving the program into the upper gymnasium.

“The only question that needs to be answered tonight,” the President said, “is should the college spend over $400,000 to move the program to a less-than-ideal location, or is this a chance to explore partnership opportunities with other entities with whom we share common goals?”

In other news, Corcoran said Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (D-11th District) this week confirmed a special $200,000 appropriation for CTC equipment has been approved by the U.S. Senate and is awaiting President Barrack Obama’s signature.

The board will meet with CTC architects at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7 to review schematic designs.

In other action, the board approved:

  • Entering into a new three-year agreement to provide Truck Driver Training at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon. IVCC has been providing truck driver training at Sauk since 2006.
  • The purchase of $20,531 in emergency medical services training equipment.
  • Seeking bids for an air-cooled CO2 laser engraver for the horticulture program to label outdoor plants at an estimated cost of $12,000 and a rigging system trainer for the industrial maintenance program for an estimated $16,500.
  • An $11 million tax levy that will call for 34.64 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. “Although this year’s recommended tax rate represents the eighth consecutive year the total rate will decrease, the administration is planning on EAV growth to exceed 11 percent for 2009,” said Cheryl Roelfsema, Vice President for Business Services and Finance.
  • The hiring of Michael E. Gorman as Dean of Health Professions. Gorman, former Dean of Allied Health and Associate Dean of Instruction at Malcolm X, a Chicago City College, replaced Gloria Bouxsein of Hennepin who retires Dec. 21.
  • Accepted the retirement request of Cathy Bangert of rural Streator, director of institutional research, effective March 31. Bangert has served the college for 18 years.
  • Accepted the resignation of English instructor and Honors program coordinator Ryen Nagle of Peru who will take over the high school dual credit and honors programs at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills.
  • Approved 2010 meeting dates (all starting at 6:30 p.m.) of Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 25, April 22, May 27, June 24, July 22, Aug. 26, Sept. 23, Oct. 28, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.

The board also learned of:

  • The hiring of programmer Kevin Champlin, a Mendota High School and IVCC graduate who worked formerly as a web developer and programmer at Progressive Impressions International in Bloomington and LKCS in Peru.
  • The full-time appointment of Jennifer Scheri of Peru as training specialist for the Business Training Center. Scheri, a graduate of Marquette University, has worked for the college for 16 years.
  • The retirement of Patricia Reneer of Oglesby, supervisor of registration and records, effective Feb. 28. Reneer started at the college as a student worker in 1980.
  • Geology instructor Mike Phillips of Lostant will serve on Rep. Halvorson's Education Advisory Committee and a three-year term on the Geological Society of America's Geology and Public Policy Committee as the North-Central Section representative, an honor typically reserved for professors from universities and research institutions.