OGLESBY — An Illinois Valley Community College student farm may be taking root next spring, board members learned Nov. 19.
Sociology instructor Jared Olesen, advisor to the student organization IVSustainability, said the group is looking to organically farm a half-acre on the south edge of the campus near the track.
Olesen said the project will provide students hands-on experience, the invaluable skill of learning how to grow food and business experience “in practice” by bringing their product to market.
IVSustainability is already involved in campus recycling, food waste composting and hosting an annual Green Expo. “We are advocates for sustainability at IVCC and the broader Illinois Valley,” Olesen said.
In other business, the board approved an $11.2 million levy. IVCC anticipates a 2.5 percent decline in assessed valuation for 2013 for an estimated EAV of $2.98 billion. The anticipated total tax rate will be .3663, an increase of 3.6 percent over 2012.
“This is due to a decrease in EAV, and the higher additional tax rate,” said Cheryl Roelfsema, vice president for business services and finance.
Anticipated tax extensions for the year are $117,194 higher than 2012 but $126,714 less than 2011. The levy will be submitted to county clerks in late December. With an increase of less than five percent over 2012, it will not require public notice or a public hearing.
The board also approved:
• Offering employees high-deductible health insurance in addition to the two existing plans. For employees choosing the high-deductible option (HDHP), IVCC will offer a health savings account with suggested annual contributions by the college of $2,500 for employee-only coverage and $5,000 for employee plus one, and family coverage. HDHP will be available Jan. 1.
• Replacement of the Building G (gym) water heater system by John’s Service and Sales of Oglesby for $94,279, the lowest of eight bids.
• The cash farm lease bid of Chris Kolodziej of LaSalle for 149 acres of campus farmland at $380 per acre for a total annual payment of $56,620.
• The appointment of Tracy D. Lee as English composition and creative writing instructor to fill the vacancy created by Mark Brown’s resignation. A native of Michigan, Lee is now a part-time English instructor at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Ariz.
The board learned:
• IVCC earned an “unmodified opinion” for its 2013 audit. Auditor Randy Ragan of McGladrey told the board’s finance committee Oct. 22 an unmodified opinion “is the best opinion you can get.”
• The first programs moved into the Peter Miller Community Technology Center are admissions, financial aid, Project Success, counseling and career services. Continuing Education will likely move before Thanksgiving and Adult Education shortly thereafter.
• In other Phase 2 plans, asbestos abatement will resume in mid-January, so the 45-year old temporary buildings can be demolished in the spring.
• An estimated 300 high school juniors and seniors are expected to attend Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s (R-Channahon) 16th District Youth Leadership Conference in the Cultural Centre and CTC.
• Seattle Sutton, keynote speaker at the Oct. 24 Illinois Small Business Development Center Breakfast of Champions at Deer Park Country Club, announced plans to donate $10,000 to IVCC’s nursing program.
• Instructors Cheryl Hobneck, Mary Black and Trisha Blood presented on IVCC’s new “Fast Track to College Math” at the Illinois Learning Specialists and Developmental Educators conference at Moraine Valley in Palos Hills Oct. 18.
• Graphic design students Amy Weber and Desiree Brantner of LaSalle won honorable mention in the Engineering Education Service Center’s 2013 Poster Contest. Of 143 entries in the competition, Weber and Brantner were recognized for posters inspiring students to pursue degrees in engineering, engineering technology and other STEM fields.
• Jacobs Library received the Fiscal Year 2013 value statement from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. For the approximate $29,000 IVCC expended with the organization, it received $245,000 in services and products. Consortium membership helps students become familiar with many of the same research tools they’ll use later at four-year institutions.
• Corcoran recognized several individuals for donating materials and labor to the nearly complete softball dugout replacement project: Illinois Valley Building and Construction Trades Council (specifically Dave Argubright of Carpenters Local 195 and Steve Conrad representing the Cement Masons), Roelif Loveland and Maze Lumber, Mike Sitterly of Western Sand and Gravel and Joe Piano of Cyclops Welding.
• Gerilyn Smith of Wenona has been hired as the facilities department administrative assistant.
Following the Nov. 19 closed session, the Illinois Valley Community College board accepted with regret the retirement of Vice President for Learning and Student Development Lori Scroggs effective March 1.
Prior to her 2012 appointment to her current position, Scroggs had served the college since 1995 as Division Chair for Social Science, Director of Development, trustee and Vice President for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.
Scroggs, a Princeton native, is relocating to Wisconsin with her husband.
The board also approved creation of a temporary, full-time coordinator for disability services due to increases in the number of students with disabilities and work-hour limitations for part-time staff mandated by the Affordable Care Act. An interim coordinator will serve through June 30.