OGLESBY — An agriculture complex at Illinois Valley Community College took a major step forward Nov. 14 with board approval of construction contracts totaling more than $600,000 for a storage and routine maintenance facility.
The 6,000-square-foot metal building will be located just south of campus on the site of the dairy barn that was demolished last December. It will house equipment leased to the ag program such as tractors, planters and implements.
The board approved the bids of Vissering Construction of Streator to construct the building for $521,100 and JB Contracting Corporation of LaSalle to provide the electrical work for $63,653. Total construction costs of $613,990 include a 5 percent contingency.
In a related action, the board approved transfer of $66,190 to be added to the Capital Development Board trust account at Midland States Bank for the building’s construction.
The college has received more than $300,000 in state support for the facility: $164,790 in deferred maintenance and $150,000 in Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO) funding.
Phase II of the agriculture complex is a 6,800-square-foot Agriculture Center complete with a soils lab, classroom/computer lab, conference room, student collaborative space and more. The college hopes to have the entire complex complete by 2022.
In other business, trustees approved a tentative $12.5 million tax levy request for 2019, up less than 5 percent over the actual 2018 levy extension of $11.9 million.
“The estimated tax rate is .3642, a decrease of slightly less than 1 percent,” said IVCC Vice President for Business Services and Finance Cheryl Roelfsema. “Though our tax rate is estimated to drop, for homeowners this is less than a one percent decrease in IVCC’s portion of their tax bill and in almost all cases will be less than a $5 decrease.”
The estimated equalized assessed valuation (EAV) of $3.4 billion is 4.99 percent over 2018. The increase will not require a public notice or public hearing when trustees move for final approval Dec. 12.
IVCC levies taxes in all or parts of eight counties: LaSalle, Bureau, Putnam, Marshall, Lee, Livingston, Grundy and DeKalb.
The board also approved:
• Seeking bids for 10 Amatrol portable PLC Troubleshooting Learning Systems for electrical, electronics and renewable energy programs for an estimated $168,300 – a cost covered by the IVCC Foundation.
• Purchase of 280 tons of rock salt from Cargill for about $21,000 or nearly $75 per ton.
• Renewal of 21 licenses for the use of the Career Cruising website for $11,445 for 2020.
• Protection, Health and Safety (PHS) projects totaling over $1.3 million including air handling unit replacements for the gym ($674,877) and Cultural Centre ($333,960), bleacher replacement in the gym ($314,600) and exhaust system upgrades for the automotive lab ($43,833).
• Increasing student worker wages in January to $9.25 per hour to comply with a state mandate for incremental minimum wage increases. To cover the current 68 student workers, payroll would increase $1,350 per week.
• The bid of German-Bliss Equipment of Princeville for a full-size 4x4 Polaris utility vehicle for $17,350.
• Changes to two board policies.
• Following closed session, the board approved a letter of agreement with the American Federation of Teachers Local 1810 regarding professional development. Full-time faculty are allotted $1,000 annually for professional development. If they exceed that amount in 2019-20, the letter of agreement allows them to borrow against their 2020-21 allotment.
• Also after closed session, the board hired Kathryn “Kaity” Griswold as the first instructor for the new Medical Assistant program. Griswold has a bachelor’s in health care management and medical assisting diploma from Rasmussen College in Rockford; she also has completed a phlebotomy certificate and EMT-B coursework from IVCC. She has worked three years as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) among her 14 years in health care.
Board members learned:
• In a campus update on employee demographics, Director of Human Resources Leslie Hofer said only 15 percent of the full-time employees eligible to retire in fiscal 2019 actually retired.
• English/reading instructor Jean Forst will be eligible for tenure in January.
• Assistant director of admissions and records Aseret Loveland was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Bureau County Republican and was among seven honorees at an Oct. 17 program in Princeton.
• Corcoran and four other community college presidents met recently with ISU’s Dean of the College of Education Jim Wolfinger as part of a teacher-education pipeline task force. “One of our initial purposes was to address the teacher shortage, especially in rural communities. By working with ISU, our hope is to develop strategies for high school-community college-ISU pathways which could be of particular interest to returning-adult educator programs,” said Corcoran.
• A total of 28 graduates were honored at the Oct. 19 Results University graduation. In the three years IVCC has hosted, 135 certificates have been granted to Results Companies employees.
• IVCC may soon be home to an office and dedicated classroom for the Central Illinois Police Training Center Mobile Training Unit #7. Corcoran credited IVCC criminal justice instructor Kevin Hermes and LaSalle County Sheriff Tom Templeton for the work that led to the potential partnership.
• Nearly 400 prospective students and family members met with representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities at the Oct. 22 College and Career Night in the gym.
• Hundreds of high school students attended the 7th annual North Central Illinois Discover Manufacturing Career Expo Oct. 29. Students began the day at one of 11 manufacturers, then visited IVCC’s manufacturing facilities.
• About 25 former employees attended the Foundation’s 14th annual IVCC-LPO Retirees Reception Nov. 7 in the cyber café.
• The Nov. 13 Explore IVCC event attracted about 250 prospective students and family members to meet with academic program coordinators and instructors.