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