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SCCC Trustees Approve Phase 2 Of Pathways Project

Joe Denoyer - September 13, 2016 8:46 pm

Following its annual traditional dinner with the Presidential Scholars, the Seward County Community College Board of Trustees conducted its September meeting Thursday. The dinner, held at Baker Arts Center, provides a means for trustees, students, and administration to get to know one another in a relaxed setting. Presidential Scholars are selected with input from area high school counselors, receive scholarship aid through the SCCC Foundation to cover tuition, fees, and, in some cases, books.

“We’re very proud of you, and know you will do great things at Seward and beyond,” President Ken Trzaska told the students.

At the board meeting, trustees described the evening as rewarding and enjoyable.

“The dinner went well,” said board chair Ron Oliver. “The students at my table were very talkative. It never ceases to amaze me, the students we get.”

The evening’s business included lively discussion of the bid assignment for the Sunflower Foundation Pathway Project, which is poised to begin Phase 2. The board requested bids for additional sidewalks to connect sections of campus as part of a matching funding grant obtained through the Sunflower Foundation, with assistance from the Liberal Area Coalition for Families.

The new portion of the pathway will begin near the cosmetology building and run eastward, then loop north towards the agriculture department.

“In the long run, this project should attract community members to campus,” stated SCCC grant writer Charity Horinek in her report. “In a community survey conducted in June and July, 82 respondents said they were neither SCCC students nor employees. Almost half said they would use such a trail two or more times per week, primarily for walking, jogging, running, or bicycling.”

Although the low bid for the project, $36,480, came from Abbott Construction of Liberal, administration noted that the complete bid did not arrive within the specified deadline. Consequently, Lezama Concrete of Liberal won the job, for $39,200.

Director of Grounds and Maintenance Roger Scheib told the board that work performed by Lezama for Phase 1 of the pathway project was timely and well done.

“We’ve been very pleased with the sidewalk they poured for us last spring,” he said.

The board ultimately voted 4-1-1 to accept the bid from Lezama. Trustee Rick Brenneman said he was reluctant to award work to Lezama, and voted “no,” while trustee Marvin Chance Jr. abstained from voting. Deadline for project completion is Oct. 31.

In other business, the board approved purchase of a new vehicle for use by the SCCC President. Bids were invited for a new Chrysler 300 Limited, which was chosen after several test drives of similar model vehicles. The low bid of $38,000 came from a dealership in Hays, Lewis Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, but the board opted to do business in Liberal with Chrysler Corner, which submitted a bid for $43,699. Administration recommended either of the two bids, noting that purchase from the Liberal dealership would enable the college to obtain local servicing, thereby offsetting the difference in the two prices through savings on maintenance and repair costs.

The board heard reports about two Mover projects, community engagement and talent development, from Vice President of Student Services Celeste Donovan; an update from the enrollment management committee; and reports from TRiO Student Support Services, and the Wellness Center. All reports were “information only” and did not prompt board votes.

Per a request from Dean of Math, Science, and H PERD Luke Dowell, the board unanimously approved payment of death benefits to the designated beneficiary of Mr. Greg Gardner, who died March 28, 2016. Gardner served as a biology and chemistry instructor at SCCC for 18 years. The remaining balance on his contract was $10,378.69.

In the personnel report, the board welcomed new employees Shayla McElvania as simulation facilitation & clinical instructor at the Allied Health division, and Jennifer Kirkhart as accounting instructor. The board accepted resignations from automotive instructor Dalton Brookes, behavioral science instructor Debbie Stafford, and nursing instructor Mary Ruiz, as well as maintenance supervisor Mike Fowler.

Open positions on campus include: automotive technology instructor, diesel instructor, director of library, KSBDC Associate Regional Director (Dodge City), financial aid loan specialist, maintenance II/custodian, and STEM transfer coordinator. A complete and updated listing of open positions at SCCC can be viewed at

In his report to the board, Dr. Trzaska described the creation of the SCCC health care task force, made up of 15 team members from across campus. The group will research and bring proposals for health care and insurance options to the team.

“This past year has brought difficult changes for some,” said Trzaska, “so we are looking for ways to lower the cost to the institution while lowering cost to team members.” Trzaska asked the board to designate a representative to serve on the committee, and Dustin Ormiston agreed to serve. Chair Oliver will be a back-up attendee.

VP Donovan reported that the Student Veterans Association had worked with community groups to organize a Patriot Day speaker, barbecue, and appreciation ceremony for first responders on Sept. 12. Plans are underway for Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Todd Carter, noted that Dr. Suzanne Campbell and instructor Jamie Titus of the Medical Laboratory Technician program received a 10-year recertification from their professional governing body. A partnership with Wichita State University promises to provide a pathway for paraprofessionals working in the public school system to obtain their elementary education bachelor’s degrees. Through a new STEM grant, the computer and agriculture departments are exploring the possibilities of working to develop drones and robotic technology for application in agriculture and energy/pipeline settings.

Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander was not present at the meeting because of a prior commitment; SCCC Board of Trustees meetings typically fall on the first Monday of the month. Looking ahead to the end of the semester, the board moved its regular meeting for January 2017 to the second Thursday of the month, Jan. 12, to accommodate the holiday break.

The next SCCC Board of Trustees meeting will be Oct. 3, 2016.


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