East, West Tech buildings in need of renovation

The East and West technology buildings are in need of major renovations.

That was the message from Suzanne Wetzel, Vice President of Administration, to the Board of Trustees at their meeting on Oct 28. 

“We have a whole lot of work to do in West Tech,” she said.

Wetzel presented the college’s annual building plan for 2015. Included in the plan is a request for state funding to renovate the East and West Technology buildings.

The approximately 60,000-square-foot plan has an estimated price tag of $12 million.

“If we complete the renovation at 60,000 square feet, that’s what it would cost,” she said.

The timeline for renovation of the two buildings is currently from July 2014 until December 2015.

“Those are very, very rough estimates,” Wetzel said.

State approval is required if a project exceeds $1 million.

“By submitting this, there’s no guarantee the state will fund it,” Wetzel said. 

“The Career Technology Center (CTC) was submitted several times before it was approved.”

Wetzel discussed programs the college would like to expand within the East and West buildings. Included are expanding the Regional Computer Technology Center (RCTC), moving the Learning Assistance Lab from the C building, renovating lab space to accommodate the creation of a Viticulture and Enology lab, and expanding the Middle College.

“The East and West Technology buildings need major renovations, especially in the lab areas to make it possible to convert these spaces into useable classroom and lab spaces for other programs needing to relocate or expand,” the project request said.

Wetzel explained what will happen if the college receives state funding. The state typically provides up to 50 percent funding for community colleges.

“Once you get that authorization, it locks you into that amount,” she said.

The request addressed whether the project would have an impact on tuition.

“There should be no impact on student tuition and fees,” the request said.

The board voted to approve the Capital Outlay plan, which included the East/West Tech proposal. Wetzel said the vote does not allocate funding, but places the East and West Tech renovation as the next priority.

Also during the meeting, Steve Mapes, associate professor of Counseling, presented this year’s Student Profile Report.

Mapes said the typical student is female, Caucasian, living in Monroe County, attending part-time and planning to transfer.

“This has remained unchanged for many years,” he said.

The type of programs students are pursuing shifted, he said. The trend during the recession was more toward occupational programs.

“We did see more of a shift in occupational programs,” he said, “seeing it go back to transfer programs.”

Mapes explained the enrollment by gender – females dominated, with 2,160, while there were 1,617 males.

He also said more veterans enrolled at the college.

“It’s not a big group, but 88 percent are male,” he said.

Another growing group is delayed or deferred students – those who postpone their enrollment for a semester or more.

“We’re seeing more and more students delaying that enrollment,” he said.

Mapes said enrollment has declined, overall, in and out of the district, but out-of-state students saw the largest decrease.

“We feel that these are our Pell Runners,” he said, referring to students who move from college to college to fraudulently obtain federal grant money.

Mapes said roadblocks have been enacted to prevent the problem.

In addition, Mapes said the area with the largest increase in students was downriver, which includes Brownstown and Woodhaven.

“That’s really where all of our growth came from,” he said.

Another area of growth on the enrollment report was students attending any college for the first time. Mapes said this segment is experiencing the most gains with dual-enrolled students and military veterans.

“Those are our bright spots,” he said.

Trustee Linda Lauer mentioned that MCCC has raised tuition a lot in recent years.

“We are definitely the superior option,” Mapes said in response.

Other highlights of the Oct. 28 board meeting:

● The board approved a first-year probationary contract for Jack Burns, director of Campus Planning and Facilities. Burns has been a lifelong resident of Monroe County and was a former MCCC student.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve the college,” he said.

●  Beth Waldvogel, a part-time Web Services/Computer Lab Technician on the college’s main campus, is transferring to a full-time position at the Whitman Center. Wetzel said the transfer will save the college $30,000 a year.

“It’s a huge win-win for our students,” she said.

“She brought it (the idea) forward and I think it’s really terrific.”

● The college was scheduled to receive a cash boost on Nov 1. A $3 million loan will be credited to the college’s account to pay for uncovered expenses, according to Wetzel. Wetzel said the college is waiting for property tax revenues to arrive so the college can pay off the loan.

“As soon as we have the money, we’ll pay it back,” she said.

College President Dr. Kojo Quartey’s TV show, “Education Matters,” was addressed in the meeting.

The half-hour interview show is filmed at MPACT studios in Monroe. Joe Verkennes, Director of Marketing, said the second taping was recently completed featuring Quartey interviewing the superintendent of the Monroe County Intermediate School District.

The first episode, featuring a discussion with Peter Coomar, dean of the Applied Science and Engineering Technology Division, will air in November. The next episode will run in January.

Verkennes and other staff and faculty members have taken part in the show’s production.

“We are even trying to get the students involved,” he said.

Quartey mentioned the first meeting of a Solidworks software support group, which was held at MCCC and drew over 100 people.

“That was great,” he said.

●  Wetzel presented a report on the new Career Technology Center.

“Internal signage is now complete,” she said.

Wetzel also said she is working with the faculty to resolve complaints of loud noises while students are in the work bays.