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SCCC Trustees Welcome WBB Coach, Look at Eco-Devo Partnerships

Joe Denoyer - May 9, 2018 10:10 am


Seward County Community College Board of Trustees met the college’s new coach for women’s basketball, Austin Mefford, at the Monday meeting. The introduction provided a positive start to a full agenda that blended year-end housekeeping items and long-range discussions.

Roy Allen, SCCC Director of Athletics, introduced Mefford, who served as assistant coach at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Fla., which won two national championships during his time there. Mefford expressed his excitement about joining the Saints athletic family.

Monday’s meeting included a presentation from local developers Rock Ormiston and Tom Willis, who brought an information-only discussion about STAR Bonds to the board. A mechanism for strategic economic development, the Kansas Department of Commerce bonds tied to retail sales tax have been widely in eastern-Kansas municipalities, Ormiston noted. He said they offer a great deal of opportunity to rural communities in western Kansas.

“With what is happening in Liberal with the new schools, the construction going up at SCCC, and the cooperation between city and county, we’re thinking, why not take advantage of STAR bonds?” Ormiston said. “We are here to open the discussion and provide awareness of ways the college can be a significant part of this growth.”

Willis said the success of STAR bonds depends on “a combination of private and public entities working together,” something SCCC has worked hard to develop through its academic and business & industry divisions. One key element is for a community to develop a destination attraction that serves to bring customers to retail partners. The soon-to-be constructed Sharp Champions Center, an indoor, multi-sport practice facility, could be part of such an initiative.

“During our commencement weekend, and with all the activity in town for Cinco de Mayo, people have begun to see the college as a significant force in the community,” said SCCC Dr. Ken Trzaska. “The purpose at this point is to bring the possibilities to this board for future planning.”

In neighboring communities, noted Willis, “people have this idea that it takes one major benefactor to get everything happening, but what we believe is that it doesn’t take a gazillion dollars to make change happen, it just takes a bunch of people willing to work together.”

“We wanted to meet with you briefly to ask, ‘How can the college be a part of this?’” said Ormiston. “Thank you for giving us some of your time.”

SCCC Board chair Ron Oliver, vice chair Marvin Chance Jr., and member Dustin Ormiston thanked Willis and Rock Ormiston for attending the meeting.

In an Athletic Department update, Allen provided a schedule for planned improvements to the Greenhouse gymnasium over the summer, including installation of two video boards to replace the old scoreboards, new bleachers on the south side of the court, and resurfacing of the floor itself. The board also heard (and approved) a proposal to establish designated, paid reserved parking for Saints fans who wish to purchase regular spots, a joint venture with the booster club that will generate fees for athletic scholarships.

Allen said the high point of the year was a tie, between the 1,500 community service hours completed by Saints athletes, and the history-making fact that all the SCCC teams competed in Jayhawk Conference playoffs.

“We’re the only school in the conference to achieve that, so we’re pretty proud,” he said. “Our athletes have excelled in many ways this year, from their academic success to volunteer work, to their performances in sports.”

Other reports to the board included updates from three key “Mover” groups about work accomplished during the 2017-18 academic year. VP of Student Services Celeste Donovan, Dean of Students Annette Hackbarth-Onson, and Director of Admissions Bert Luallen presented information about enrollment management improvements and plans. Information Technology team member Joshua Revord brought a report about the “Digital Transformation” mover team, which continues to explore new technology for classroom use, and update and improvements to systems already in place across campus. Finally, Inclusivity & Civility mover team leader Rachel Coleman, Executive Director of Marketing & PR, updated the board about research and planning completed by that group.

During the board comments, trustee John Engel said the athletics exploration committee has identified bowling, golf, and cross country as sports to research for potential additions to the Saints athletic program. Oliver complimented the commencement weekend events.
“Whoever is responsible for organizing all of it should be commended,” he said. “It was excellent.” Executive team members gave credit to SCCC registrar Alaina Rice.

The personnel report included greetings and farewells, as employment of nursing instructors Katherine “Kate” Mulligan and Shayla McElvania, as well as Mefford, was approved. Resignations included English instructor Joshua Paulus and Computer Information Systems instructor Rusty Tuman, both of whom will go to work for USD 480, auto-business instructor Cody Pickering, and Kate Mulligan, who will leave her old position as housing director.

“It’s sad to lose these folks, but we are glad many of them will still be close at hand,” said Trzaska. A complete list of current position openings at SCCC can be viewed online at, under the “Faculty/Staff” tab, and the “Human Resources” button.

Following a recommendation from the executive team, the board approved redesign of the position formerly listed as “Director of Safety and Security.”

Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander explained the recommendation, which creates a position for a “Safety Supervisor and Assistant to Director of Facilities.”

“We believe this will provide the college with an effective and efficient personnel structure,” Sander said. “The primary functions of the position would be to provide security services, monitor safety across campus, including crime prevention programs, safe parking, and compliance with various regulations.” The new position will also provide support to Director of Facilities Roger Scheib and “provide a leadership role in the key direction of promoting a safe and healthy campus,” Sander said.

The board approved the new position 4-0; trustees Casey Mein and Stacy Johnson were absent from the meeting.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Todd Carter presented information about the creation of a new chemistry instructor position, which the board approved 4-0.

“In the past, we’ve been able to use part-time instructors and biology instructors to help cover chemistry instruction, which is more than one chemistry instructor can handle,” Carter said. “The governing bodies now require higher-level credentials from our instructors.” At the same time, the need for additional BlendFlex classes delivered to area high schools for concurrent-credit students has increased the teaching load. The situation has a direct impact on enrollment and fiscal numbers, Carter noted.

“We were not able to teach as many sections as normal and some classes were not offered during the semester needed by students. The credit hour generation on campus has reduced from an average of 675 to 535 credit hours for FY 18,” the narrative noted. “An additional instructor will allow us to offer the courses students need, meeting the needs of the adult students typically enrolled in our allied Health programs and our target population for Process Technology and Corrosion Technology.”

In other business:

* Following recommendations by the advisory board at the Industrial Technology Division, the trustees approved curriculum changes to four programs, drafting and design, HVAC, natural gas technology, and welding.

* Heard an update from Trzaska about progress on the Sharp Family Champions Center. One contractor has offered a three-phase bid process, which Trzaska hopes to present to the board within the next few weeks.

* Viewed drawings and plans for a stop light and pedestrian crosswalk project connecting the main campus of SCCC to the west side of Kansas Ave. Facilities Director Roger Scheib said the approximate cost is $30,000, that may be split between the college and the City of Liberal pending discussions.

* Approved the recommendation from CIO JJ Widener that the college purchase its annual computer upgrades from ByteSpeed of Moorhead, Minn. Though the bid was not the lowest received, Widener said the value of “backup units,” which are essentially bonus computer units provided by the vendor more than made up for back-end costs typically generated by service and repair contingencies.

* Approved a bid for resurfacing of the SCCC tennis courts by MidAmerica Courts. The tennis courts were last resurfaced 10 years ago, in 2008, and have developed significant cracks and surface peeling.

* Heard reports from the executive team. Widener reported he will graduate with an MBA from Fort Hays State University this week. His department will complete a service project with repurposed computers, for a school in Hugoton.

* Donovan reported that 264 students participated in commencement, though 350 total will earn their degrees; additionally, 50 students took part in the GED graduation event.

* Carter reported that site reviews and audits conducted by the state showed that once again, the Colvin Adult Learning Center ranks among the top three in the state. SCCC’s truck driving program fared even better, claiming top honors for its compliance and student success rates. Work continues to apply for an expanded grant partnership with Kansas State University via the National Endowment for the Humanities. Finally, SCCC English instructor Janice Northerns was offered a Tennessee Williams scholarship for the prestigious Sewanee Writer’s Conference in July.

* Sander reported on the Architect One and advisory group meeting for the Colvin Allied Health Center construction project. “It’s been great in terms of feedback and looking ahead to the opportunities this building will create,” he said.

* President Trzaska provided an update about plans for the college’s 50th anniversary observations, slated to begin in on the last weekend of August and early September 2019, reflecting the date in 1969 when students first attended classes. He also noted long-range plans in concert with Great Western Dining, for continued improvements to student dining, and a new partnership with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).


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