McHenry County College Goes after New Expansion Plans

McHenry County College is going back to the drawing board.

Readers will remember that McHenry County College put together a $640 million (about $1 billion with interest), forty-year expansion plan, the first phase of which was a 120,000 square foot addition that would have nearly doubled classroom space and included a fancy health club, complete with multiple swimming pools.

The plan was based on enrollment growing 3% per year ad infinitum.

Only, as it turns out, population in the County is going down, not up, and the number of high school seniors, from which MCC draws 75% of its students, will be 20% smaller in ten years than it is today.

McHenry County College enrollment since it opened.

McHenry County College fall enrollment since it opened.

MCC’s own numbers show enrollment is flat since the McHenry County Promise scholarship money ran out.

McHenry County College enrollment from 1969 to 2013.

McHenry County College enrollment from 1969 to 2013, students and credit hours.

That expansion plan got shot down by the new board.

And for a lot of good reasons.

It turns out that the existing classroom space is only used half of the average school day.

And average class size has dropped from 22 to 17 over the last several years, a 23% decrease.

In fact, it turns out 30% of their classes don’t even have ten students in them!

In other words, the College could add a huge amount of “capacity”, if they needed it, just by upping class size modestly.

So on May 30th, MCC put out a “Request for Qualifications.”

The College wants an architectural firm to “assess the solution(s) which will accommodate the space needs of the College”.

The RFP says “Current space utilization must be confirmed, and future requirements for each area must be determined.”

Roger that.

It goes on to say, “the conceptual designs shall include the following option(s):

• New building
• Renovation of existing space
• Building addition(s)/building up on existing structure(s)
• Offsite property options if deemed cost effective

At Thursday’s meeting the Board is supposed to approve whatever firm is selected.

The committee making the recommendation, however, has been stacked so MCC President Vicky Smith can control it.

No word yet on the cost of hiring yet another consultant.


McHenry County College Goes after New Expansion Plans — 6 Comments

  1. Am I missing something here?

    On the one hand, MCC is hiring an architect to advise them what new capital projects they need, and the next story down, MCC has already decided they need $75 million for new capital projects, and they want the state to pay for $56 million of it.

    Which is it?

    They know what they need, or they need a consultant to TELL them what they need?

    I’m so confused!

  2. They need to utilize some of the larger empty buildings for classes to make them more accessible to students outside of Crystal Lake.

    The old Walmart or Sear in McHenry could have some classes.

    Also what about teaching more online classes.

  3. Maybe Vicky Smith has been informed by the same people who posted the job for illegal alien baby sitters that McHenry County will be the recipient of thousands of illegal alien children?

  4. Come to Huntley for an off-site location.

    This is a perfect venue due to the 90/47 Toll Road, business & medical expansions, restaurant growth, educated community; and we pay taxes toward MCC. Huntley H.S. has a medical training program; students will be able to work in Heritage Woods and Deer Path, Centegra Hospital, Alden Step-Down Living Facility, Family Alliance, and Centegra Immediate Care.

    By the way, I take classes 3-4 times a quarter at MCC and I rarely see full classrooms.

    R. Goldman
    Huntley Trustee

  5. How is any discussion of spending public funds for any project other than crisis funding even being entertained?

    At property tax rates higher than 3% of property value–compared to national average around 1.15%–how can our property values do anything but continue to plummet, or remain at levels whereby cash buyers snap up foreclosed properties and rent them at excellent rates of return on investment, as our tax rates increase?

    How can Board members look citizens in the eye and justify frivolous spending that destroys the value of a person’s home?

    How much higher education could be purchased if every household in McHenry County were allowed to keep the 1.5%-2.5% above average of home value that is being taken by County taxes for profligate spending on projects such as this?

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