Dominick Demonica led McHenry County College Trustees and staff on a tour of the campus to point out the changes his architectural firm was suggesting.
Proposed was a science building on the grassy area between the two major buildings on the property.
An elevated walkway would link the two sides of the campus along the edge of the new building.
At the end of the tour and a power point presentation, he revealed the projected cost of two versions.
$27.3 million if the science building is a block and $30.7 million if it is three thin buildings.
In October, the price ranged from $62 to $78 million.
Chairwoman of the Committee of the Whole started the discussion by admitting she was “overwhelmed a bit.”
“I think it makes sense,” Cynthia Kisser said.
Chris Jenner like the plans, but asked, “Where’s the money going to come from?”
Mike Smith, Chairman of the College Board, said,
“I, too. was inspired by the tour.
“We should be giving that tour to communities across the [district].
“We have to sell this to the community.
“I can’t find the prudence of talking about a $40 million project without talking about the financing.”
He added that the incoming President should be consulted, but stressed that the lab space needed to be modernized.
Molly Walsh said, “I’m probably on the same page as everyone here…We have to do something.
“I’d hold off on Physical Education.
“We can look at a student fee for the student space.”
“Go out and sell it,” Mike Smith interjected.
“We need to agree on the finance model,” Kisser said.
Observing that the last proposal was between $62 and $78 million, Liddell complimented Demonica:
“You cut it down considerably.”
Student Trustee Jason Memmen wondered if the Trustees were doing their part.
“We need the new lab space,” Karen Tirio agreed.
“We can’t afford [the whole proposal], so we have to be creative.
“Maybe we don’t have to offer everything under the sun.”
Walsh asked Tirio how she would proposed going about solving the problem.
“Ron brought up something in an email–only about five miles from here..
“It shouldn’t be off campus,” Walsh replied.
Memmen said that as a student he wouldn’t be pleased to having to go five miles away to take a biology course.
Citing an article about Census figures in McHenry County Blog, Tirio pointed out that one in five households in McHenry County are living in poverty.
Ron Parrish weighed in.
“When I suggested this study be done I had no idea [this would be the result].”
He complained about its ignoring of demographics.
“Part of the demand is a function of demographics.
“We’ve approached this entire study wrongly.
“It’s not that I’m being swayed by the general public; I am one.
“$37-$40 million–that’s not the game we’re in.
“[We should] begin with a study of what MCC should be and then mov[e] forward from that.
“Biology doesn’t need to be at MCC.
“Last time [the proposal} took my breath away.
“It was $62-$72 million.
“Let’s get a voice we can live with.”
“I’m really confused,” Memmen said.
“This is what we asked for.”
“I would like to see the finance model come back,” Kisser said.
Michael Smith added, “Support and affordability are not necessarily the same thing.”
Memmen pointed out that during the last discussion a referendum had been ruled out.
Smith said he was not philosophically opposed to a referendum, but we have to earn the right to present [one].
“If you’re going to sell it to the community, we have to agree on what we’re selling.”
“We’ve really taken a giant step backward,” Memmen commented.
Liddell put a more optimistic spin on the discussion.
“We need to figure out what we can afford.
“I don’t think we’re taking steps backwards.”