Housing pinches ACCC

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

 

Steve Troxel, vice president for Finance and Operations, gave Allen County Community College trustees an explanation of improvements made to the chemistry laboratory during Thursday night’s meeting. Others, from left, are Trustee Harvey Rogers, John Masterson, president of the college, and Trustee Spencer Ambler.

Allen County Community College’s enrollment today is substantially greater than a year ago and it likely would be more so if the college had more housing for out-of-town students.
Randy Weber, dean of Student Affairs, told trustees Thursday night all three dorms were stuffed with students, to the point that three students were assigned to some rooms meant for two. College apartments on White Boulevard also are filled to the brim.
“And we’ll have eight or 10 students staying in a motel when classes start next week,” he said, a stop-gap measure that has been used in the past and is usually alleviated with early-semester dropouts.
Weber said the housing shortage caused a few students to look elsewhere to study.
Some private housing has been identified, but a concern of landlords is that students receiving financial assistance don’t receive money until late September, after they have demonstrated that they’re serious about being students, Weber said.
As of today, headcount for the Iola campus is 687 students, 75 more than on Aug. 14, 2008 and an increase of nearly 13 percent. Overall, for the local campus, outreach and online, the headcount is up 301 to 3,134.
Weber also noted that 282 of 400 available performance scholarships had been given for the fall semester. They are for sports and such things as music, theater and livestock and meats judging teams.
Jon Marshall, vice president for Academic Affairs, said the department’s focus was to give more personal attention to students and build on what already was a high quality education available at ACCC.
An exciting advance, he said, is discussions with Fort Scott Community College to provide opportunities for students to take advantage of specialty courses offered by each of the schools.
For example, a student eager to complete a two-year nursing degree could take general education courses one year at ACCC and then move to Fort Scott where nursing classes are offered.
The college’s catalog also is being updated, Marshall said, and fortified a presentation by Rebecca Bilderback that gave trustees an extensive look at the college’s updated Web site. Bilderback noted that the new and improved site would give enrolled and potential students, parents and high school counselors, who the college depends on to send students ACCC’s way, much more information about the college in a user-friendly way.
Steve Troxel, vice president for Finance and Operations, told trustees the college received a two-year federal stimulus stipend of $312,073. He said restrictions on the money made it available for repair and improvements to student housing, a portion of which trustees viewed in a tour of Winter and Horton halls and the White Boulevard apartments. They also were shown improvements made to the chemistry laboratory.
He said the money also could be used to mitigate tuition costs, a strategy employed at Pittsburg State University with the federal funding.

FOLLOWING a 30-minute executive session, trustees filled several vacancies. Travis Robb will teach biology, Elizabeth Toland will be the early childhood education specialist and Marvin Irey will be the construction and maintenance technology specialist. Robert Johnson II was appointed the Board’s attorney.
In the normal course of the meeting, trustees heard other reports and attended to housekeeping items, such as amending the staff’s fringe benefits package to make it clear that at age 65, with Medicare eligibility, an employee or spouse would have health insurance benefits terminated.
They also noted that health insurance costs this year would be $368.51 for an employee, paid by the college, and additional employee responsibilities of $287.99 per child, $366.33 for spouse or $710.86 for a family membership.
No one objected during a hearing for the college’s 2009-10 budget, which includes a property tax levy of 16.841 mills, just .11 of a mill more than last year. Total expenditures are estimated at $15.21 million, compared to last year’s $15.3 million.