This is a continuation of Stephen Willson’s critique of the $42 million health club/classroom expansion proposed by the McHenry County College Board.
Proposition 5: There is a need for additional classroom space.
Response: MCC has plenty of unused capacity and demand is unlikely to grow.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, MCC stated they do not know the extent to which their current physical plant is used.
This is an incredible admission, but if true, how in the world can they claim they need more space?
- physical survey evidence and examination of classroom capacity data,
- total semester hours earned and
- (declining) average class size
(all available in their annual report) show existing classrooms are empty 33% or more of the school day, proving that MCC has substantial unused classroom capacity.
There simply is no need for more classroom space.
Further, the Census Bureau projects that the number of 18-34 year olds will decline over the next ten years, a projection born out by the fact that there are 20% fewer third graders in McHenry County schools – MCC’s freshmen in ten years – than there are high school seniors.
So MCC is likely to need less space, not more.
None of this is addressed in the so-called “feasibility study.”
Proposition 6: The County NEEDS a big, new government-run health club.
Response: I don’t even know what to say to that.
MCC’s proposal calls for spending $42 million for a 120,000 square foot building.
That is $350 per square foot, which every local business person knows is more than three times the going rate for commercial space.
According to MCC, 28% of the space in this building will be used for a new and improved fitness center for its students.
In other words, almost $12 million of the projected cost will go towards building a new Health Bridge-like club.
MCC already operates a vastly under-utilized fitness center.
Based on several observations at various times on various days, the fitness center usually has only a handful of students in it.
It operates at less than 20% of its capacity.
Yet the new fitness center will be at least five times the size of the current fitness center.
Further, there are more than twenty fitness centers already in operation in McHenry County.
Why should taxpayers subsidize a fancy new health club that will compete with private enterprise?
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The following are running for the three open spots on the McHenry County College Board:
- William Scott Alford, Wonder Lake, received December 19
- Chris Jenner, Cary, received December 26, 2012
- Carol Larson, Harvard, received December 17
- Erik Sivertsen, McHenry, received December 26, 2012
- Mike Smith, Village of Lakewood, received December 17
- Molly Walsh, Crystal Lake, received December 21
- Barbara Walters, McHenry, received December 26, 2012
- Arne Waltmire, McHenry, received December 17
- Thomas Wilbeck, Lakewood, received December 26, 2012
Incumbents are Carol Larson and Barbara Walters.
Rest assured I shall ask each whether they will vote to sell bonds without asking voters for permission first.
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See Part 1 here.
See Part 2 here.
See Part 3 here.
See Part 4 here.