New MCC $9 per Credit Hour Student Fee Would Pay Bulk of Health Club-Health Sciences Classroom Addition

A meeting at which topics were discussed, but not voted upon, was held by the McHenry County College Board Tuesday night.

Consultant Power Wellness made the case for additional classrooms for health sciences and for a much larger health and fitness facility.

The potential costs ranged from $33 to $47 million for an on-campus addition, which the report was skewed toward.

An additional $2.5 million would be required to remodel space that is currently used for health sciences and the health club, according to Leanne Meyer-Smith of Wight & Company, the firm that prepared the master plan for the campus.

The high cost proposals included 75,000 square feet of classroom space, 43,500 square feet for a fitness center, complete with lap pool, and 12,000 square feet for a medical clinic.

The financing was largely dependent on an increase in per credit hour fees of $9 per credit hour and more tuition from increased enrollment.  It would be called an “infrastructure” fee.  It would increase one-half percent per year.

Student fees seems to be the way area junior colleges are financing construction projects.

Student fees seems to be the way area junior colleges are financing construction projects.

This is a money raising technique used by other community colleges in the Chicago area, as one slide showed.

Financing options were again enumerated.

Financing options included a bond referendum, but they also included methods to avoid a vote of taxpayers.

Financing options included a bond referendum, but they also included methods to avoid a vote of taxpayers.  No equity was suggested for the so-called “Public Private Partnership” option.

The presenter, Health Wellness Principal Ken Gorman, pointed out that about $5 million had been accumulated in MCC “Fund 3.”

That could be augmented by the recommended $9 per credit hour “infrastructure fee,” plus health club fees and rent from a health care provider (Centegra was the only one with whom meetings have been held, although Advocate’s and Mercy’s names were mentioned) for clinic space.

MCC Board President Ron Parrish urged people to look at the financial part of the proposal without revealing his opinion about it.  To his left is Mary Miller.

MCC Board President Ron Parrish urged people to look at the financial part of the proposal without revealing his opinion about it. To his left is Mary Miller.

Asked if Centegra were willing to provide capital to build the clinic by Tom Wilbeck, the Power Wellness consultant replied in the negative, but did say a ten-year lease had been discussed.  Centegra said it was not interested in an off-campus site.

Rent was assumed to be $27 per square foot with the tenant being responsible for utilities and “CAM” (which I assume some reader can explain).

Health club use was based on a 200-person survey of people living within a twelve-minute drive of the college campus by a company called Meritage.  The poll results had a margin of error of 6.8%, according to Brian Hummer, a Power Wellness Partner.

The survey results found not enough people belonging to the YMCA to list separately.

2,400 community users and 160 employees could be expected by year three if the most expansive health club were approved.  That would include a lap pool, about which Meyer-Smith observed, “Pools are sometimes not workable on a community college campus.”

The proposed monthly dues for community members were $59 for a single, $94 for a couple, $129 for a family and $53 for a senior, $85 for a senior couple.  There would also be unspecified “enrollment fees.”

A loose leaf notebook containing a business plan was handed out.  It will be discussed by the Board at the October Committee of the Whole Meeting.


New MCC $9 per Credit Hour Student Fee Would Pay Bulk of Health Club-Health Sciences Classroom Addition — 13 Comments

  1. It should be illegal to obtain financing for such a project without a referendum.

    The state law should be changed.

    The law probably was changed at some point to allow such a stunt.

    The $9 per CREDIT HOUR fee hike would apply to all MCC students, whether or not they use the health club or health sciences?

    And of course all construction would be done at top dollar prevailing wage so even if a contractor is willing to offer a more competitive wage MCC is prohibited from accepting a wage lower than prevailing wage.

    I wonder if prevailing wage ever decreased, or how much it decreased, during the recession.

    What would happen instead if all MCC students put that $9 per CREDIT HOUR into a 401k.

    They will certainly need to start saving for retirement ASAP because their social security benefits will DECREASE while simultaneously per credit hour costs and taxes for public sector defined benefit pensions INCREASE.

    This $9 per CREDIT HOUR proposal is a perfect example of how college costs keep creeping up.

    The 4 year public universities in the state have pretty much pulled the same stunt.

    Public low cost low frills education in Illinois is vaporizing.

    Look at all the fancy public sector projects financed by bonds everywhere you drive.

    Money pouring out of your pocket.

    Where’s the lower costs options to this propsal?

    Community Colleges and hospitals all over the state have been on a building binge the last decade.

    There is seemingly little cost containment as the costs are just financed by bonds over many years and spread out amongst large numbers of people.

    All that allows special interests to make big profits.

  2. I see no issues with the people who use the facility to be charged a fee.

    I have paid plenty of fees to send my children to 4-year colleges.

    However, my issue is using the fee to build the fitness/clinic.

    That should come from the people that join the partnership with MCC and not the students.

  3. Please board, vote NO when and if it is put to vote.

    There are plenty of health clubs in the community already for those you want to pay to visit on their choice not from a forced choice of taxes and “infrastructure” fees.

    If this deal is so good, let the company buy land, build next to MCC and foot the full bill.

  4. Unfunded mandates financed with stealth fees and taxes.

    Nothing more.

    I propose that the $50 K wasted to finance the original study for this boondoggle, be paid back out of the pockets, of those that originally approved it.

    If these nabobs were held financially accountable for their lunacy, maybe they’d stop entertaining every idiotic proposal that crosses their paths.

    Like I always say, the less money these so called public servants have, the less mischief they can get into.

  5. There are a GLUT of health clubs in the county.

    Many offer deals to students, cops, etc.

    They are all fighting for the same piece of the pie.

    This is overload and unnecessary.

    Vote NO.

  6. FYI makes the best point!

    If L A Fitness studies, pointed them to open thier facility in West Dundee, there is a reason. It’s called sustainability and profit.

    These Power Wellness hucksters want us to believe thier smarter than a billon dollar fitness chain. 13 miles from MCC on Eighth Street, I just renewed for $229 a year, plus use of there facilities throughout the Metro and Nationwide.

    What’s the cheapest plan proposed?

    $708 plus ‘enrollment’ fees.

    Yea Power ‘Whatever’, we all fell off of turnip trucks in Mac County.

  7. …sorry Larry Emery, forgot to compliment your excellent observation as well. “let them” foot the bill.


  8. The presentation made last night and the detailed business plan given to Trustees in big loose leaf notebooks are both online.

    The presentation is at

    The business plan is at

    Due to pdf security settings, you can’t search or copy passages from the online versions. If you’d like a searchable / copyable version of either or both documents, email me at

    Videos of last night’s meeting are also available online, if you have trouble sleeping.

  9. Non searchable public documents should be illegal.
    It’s a double standard.
    The government has a searchable copy, yet they provide the public a non searchable copy.
    And such governments pretend to be public servants?
    Obviously it’s in the public’s best interest to have searchable public documents.
    So if the government is providing a non searchable public document, it’s likely the government does not want you to search the document, since it’s technologically easy to make a document searchable, in fact, the default is searchable.

  10. It should be a MCC Board policy that MCC provides a searchable copy when documents are presented to the public, or when documents are FOIA’d.

    And, it should be a MCC Board policy that all collective bargaining agreements are posted on the MCC website, of course in a searchable format.

  11. There may be a vote at the Sep 26 board meeting to loosen the security settings on pdf files that MCC posts to its website.

    If approved, this would address the issue of being able to search documents and to copy and paste from them.

    With the right search parameters, I was able to find the Staff Council collective bargaining agreement at Interestingly, it has the looser pdf settings that allow you to search and copy.

    Same for Adjunct Faculty –

    And for the Faculty –

    None of these are easy to navigate to. And it wouldn’t surprise me if they are taken down or access is otherwise prohibited if the opaque side of MCC management realizes these documents are available if you know where to look. Download them while you can.

    I will work to have important documents like this easily findable, accessible, and searchable, as opposed to being hidden, or only available via FOIA.

  12. The Health Clubs you can find on every corner are, paying taxes and providing jobs for students in the area.

    You put them out of business, you get less taxes, fewer jobs.

    Seeing the average age in McHenry County is 38 years old and the growing market for MCC includes nontraditional students, particularly Baby Boomers between the ages of 48 and 66, who desire an update to their technical or technological skills, one would think their first choice for a health club would be one nearest their home or work.

    I see this being a big empty monstrosity that will put students and taxpayers on the hook for something they don’t use and didn’t want/need in the first place.

    Harper College was small like MCC at one time.

    They were able to grow because they zeroed in on specialty academics which made it attractive for its citizens to go there for the education they would get.


    What a novel idea for a community college!!!

    Another group of students are single parents, people thrown out of the workforce who are and have been Unemployed, those who work but are looking to upgrade their qualifications to move up in employemt-Let’s let THEM decide where they want to go to keep fit.

    Many of them don’t have time for recreation.

    If they could afford the money/time for a recreational country club campus they would most likely be relocating to a warmer climate.

    Which reminds us, the cost of heating and cooling such an addition is another crazy costly ongoing expense, whether it’s full or not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *