The $34 Million Addition Proposed for McHenry County College – Part 3

Over the last two days, I’ve presented parts 1 and 2 of bond analyst Steve Willson’s analysis of the $34 million so-called “Science Labs” project at MCC.

In the final installment today, Willson shows how a plan to refurbish existing labs morphed into a 100,000 square foot addition, complete with “Student Engagement” space for foosball tables, couches and big screen TVs.

MCC’s Not Really Science Labs Project

MCC Lab - Teaching Lab GuidelinePlease note even in the graphic above that the station usage of the two nursing labs are 39% and 35%.

The conclusion that there is a “shortage” is based on building labs that are much larger than actually exist at MCC now despite low utilization. In short,

Demonica Kemper recommends increasing capacity when the labs are currently being used at far less than capacity.

Then, in February 2016, a presentation was made to the Board entitled “Science Labs and Health Sciences Renovation Recommendations”.

The NEW plan is NOT to add 5,000 square feet, but to build 103,900 square feet of space at a cost of $34.35 million.

MCC Lab - CostAccording to the July 2015 report from Demonica Kemper, MCC has 34,715 square feet of “classroom and service” space, 72,046 square feet of “Teaching Lab & Service” space, and 13,997 square feet of “Open Lab & Service” space.

That’s 120,758 square feet.

MCC LaB - Campuswide Space Needs Analysis 2014In other words, the NEW plan increases teaching space by 86% while the analysis in 2014 indicated a “shortage of only 697 square feet in teaching space.

If you have noticed that the amount of space needed is a constantly moving target, you are not alone. And look at the space being proposed.

MCC Lab - Lab and Student space now and proposedThat’s quite a fancy addition. And note that the “Science Labs and Health Sciences Renovation Recommendations” suddenly became the “Science/Student Engagement” Recommendation, complete with foosball tables and couches.


It is clear now that the new liberal board majority had an agenda.

  • The justification for expansion is based on patently disproven enrollment projections.
  • The “space utilization” study was transformed into a wish list without regard to demand or quality of existing facilities.
  • The data prove MCC has sufficient lab space based both on hours used and station utilization.
  • The new plan nearly doubles the amount of space at MCC and includes much more than refurbishing the science labs, despite the title given to the project.


The $34 Million Addition Proposed for McHenry County College – Part 3 — 4 Comments

  1. MCC along with a lot of other local government entities always want to spend the taxpayers money.

    They have tried scam ideas before. Shame on them.

  2. This is the third massive capital project MCC has proposed in the last few years.

    First there was the health club.

    Then there was $30+ million in repairs.

    Now it’s new labs + foosball tables.

    How much credibility do they have when what they “need” keeps changing?

    You know what’s a real shame?

    The labs at MCC probably DO need to be refurbished.

    But they hired this firm to do this phony study, and they didn’t even evaluate the quality of the labs or decide what needs to be done to them.

    MCC should quit hiring consultants and sit down with their science department people and figure out exactly what is obsolete and what needs to be put in place.

    It will be a give-and-take operation, with the science people wanting all the new toys and being walked back to what is really needed.

    But THAT’S how to proceed — NOT with consultants, and especially consultants hired to give a predetermined opinion.

  3. Karma, please go to the board meetings and speak out at public comment and bring friends!

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