I found the following critique of a McHenry County College agenda item tonight of interest and thought you might, too. Reactions are in italics.
The meeting is at 6:30.
FY 2015 RAMP Board Report 14-1121
The combined cost for all three projects in this submission is estimated at $74,437,059.
The College is requesting that the State appropriate 75% estimated at $55,827,794 with local funds supporting the remaining 25% estimated at $18,609,265.
$18,609,265 is a lot of local money.
Further, the other 75% that is glibly referred to as from” the State” also came out of our taxpaying pockets.
Programatic Justification Narrative p 4 of 25:
The Facilities Master Plan identified the need for growth in physical facilities based on three findings. The first of those findings supporting growing the physical facilities of the campus is based on right sizing the College. Using peer facility comparative data provided by the Illinois Community College Board, McHenry County College’s campus was found to be undersized by 100,000 square feet.
This is bogus logic. Even if MCC is “undersized,” does it matter? Taxpayers will find the excuse of being undersized a very poor excuse for spending money, even if it is in a special restricted fund for building.
The second finding supporting growth of the physical facilities of the campus is based on population growth of the county.
Historically, McHenry County has averaged a growth rate of 4% over the last forty years.
More facilities will be required to serve the increased population of the county.
Questionable data – is this from CMAP? U.S. Census data show otherwise. I would be reluctant to use data from the past forty years to plan for the future. McHenry County is tapped out on growth.
The McHenry County Board contracted Baxter and Woodman to do a study on ground water, and B & A concluded that there would be significant water shortages by 2030 if McHenry County continued to develop at the rate of the 1990’s and 2000’s.
So realistically, the county should not be counting on 4% growth.
An article in the NW Herald this week cited the county decreased by 1%.
The final finding supporting growth of the physical facilities is based on the Education Master Plan which identified the new programs the College is seeking to develop in order to serve its district residents.
What are these new programs and are they needed?
Needed like the robotics lab that had six students in it Spring 2014 and one class scheduled for Fall 2014?
Needed like the culinary program?
I have the impression that Vicky identifies new adventures without solid data.
Science and Health Professions Center p. 12 of 25:
Food Service/Dining Improvements
This would allow the expansion of space in the Food Service area to better serve and address the needs of students, staff and conference center attendees.
Currently, large community or corporate groups attending our conference center are forced to share the general dining room because private dining room space is very limited.
Can they cite data showing this?
I am on campus several times a week taking a class adjacent to the dining area and have seen dining areas set up for conferences – it appears to me that the current system is working well.
By providing food service alternative venues in all buildings on campus, overall dining capacity on-campus would be increased. Students would have different dining choices near their class areas and there would be more seating capacity in the main dining area for conference center attendees. Additional food preparation area and dishwashing area will also be required.
This is out of touch! All buildings would have food service venues? The taxpaying public says the vending machines located throughout campus will do just fine. I remember a conversation with MCC’s CFO many years ago – she was talking about outsourcing the cafeteria or severely cutting its hours because the students were not patronizing it – they were finding cheaper fast food alternatives on the drive to campus. I wonder if that is not happening today.
Does the overall dining capacity need to be increased?
There always appears to be plenty of vacant seats when I am there.
I do not think the taxpaying public cares if students have different dining choices near their class areas.
And this would require additional food prep areas and dishwashing!
I predict if these areas are built, they will be closed in several years because they are not profitable.
Student Life Center p. 19 of 25:
Where are the data that show this is needed?
With Vicky talking about outsourcing the bookstore, it sounds like she does not think it makes enough money, so why would enlarging it help? Also, with Amazon and much cheaper online sources for texts, campus bookstores may be on the way out.
Learning and Student Support Services/Administrative Services/Development:
Through new construction the support space will gain a more professional look.
Good grief! What a poor justification to spend taxpayer money!
Health/Wellness/Athletic Center Addition:
With the expansion outlined in this phase, the added space would be used to accommodate growing athletic program fitness and wellness area needs as well as growing community needs.
Has this “expansion” been scaled back to fit with the new Board’s refusal to go along with the $42 million boondoggle?