Board of Trustees approves financing for Career Technology Center

The MCCC Board of Trustees approved plans to make $8.5 million available to build the Career Technology Center.

The motion, which was unanimous among members of the Board, was approved at the Jan. 24 meeting.

The $8.5 million will be taken from a combination of reserve funds and gifts to the college. The remaining $8.5 million required to build the $17 million tech center has been granted to the college by the state.

The college must spend its money first before the state will provide its half.

Mary Kay Thayer, board secretary, pointed out before the vote that the college only gets the grant if it proceeds with the building.

“We either do this now or we lose the money,” Thayer said.

A capitol campaign by the college and The Foundation at MCCC will be conducted to raise money so that there will be somewhat of an equilibrium between reserve funds used and gifts to the college.

A feasibility study that was done last year concluded that MCCC would be able to raise between $8-10 million in donations over a time-frame of 3-5 years, according to Suzanne Wetzel, the Vice-President of Administration.

Vice Chairperson William Braunlich said he thinks MCCC will receive plenty of support from Monroe County residents.

“People have embraced MCCC as a philanthropic choice,” he said.

Chairman William Bacarella showed his support for the new building seconds after the motion passed.

“I’ll be the first to make a pledge. I pledge $1,000 a year for five years,” Bacarella said.

While a campaign drive hasn’t officially begun, two donations of a couple hundred dollars were made in the name of the Career Technology Center before financing was even approved, according to Wetzel.

How the operational costs (the money required to maintain the building), estimated to be $550,000 a year, will be raised is yet to be decided. Wetzel laid out several possible ways of generating a stream of revenue. One way would be to ask local voters for an increase in the college’s tax levy.

The possibility of a .10 mil increase, which would equal $10 per $100,000 value of property, was discussed. While the current millage is perpetual, the increase would have to be voted on by taxpayers.

Another possible option Wetzel touched on was an increase in student tuition. An increase of $5 or $6 per credit hour would generate enough money to operate the building.

“No one is advocating a tuition increase, but it is an option,” Wetzel said during the meeting.

The construction of the Career Technology Center will create 100 construction jobs in the immediate area.

Construction is slated to begin in July with the new center located between the H and L buildings. According to a press release from the college, the building is expected to be ready for occupation in September 2012.

The Career Technology Center would become home to the Industrial Technology classes that are housed in the East and West Tech buildings. Programs such as welding, quality assurance, construction, automotive engineering, C.A.D. and electronics, as well as programs in green technology and renewable energy, would benefit.

In addition to new industrial tech labs, administration offices and general education classrooms will also be part of the building.

The building will ease the college’s space crunch and provide new facilities for students.

“We’re being held down by the space. We’re literally busting out of it,” said Dr. Grace Yackee, the Vice-President of Instruction, during a special meeting of the board Saturday.

“Monroe County Community College has been talking about building this technology center for 15, 20 years. I think the people are ready for it,” said Marjorie Kreps, Board of Trustees member.