Phase 1 of a two-part study of space utilization needs for McHenry County College found a net current space deficiency of 20,540 “assignable square feet.”
Increase that number by 35-50% and one finds the gross shortage.
Looking at the calculation, one finds
- half of the amount said to be needed under the category of “athletics/physical education” and
- the other half for a “student center.”
There was a 16% surplus in classroom space.
“Teaching labs” were found to have enough space, but “open laboratories and service” were short 20% or 2,823 assignable square feet.
Looking ahead ten years, the Denver-based firm of Paulien & Associations projected a shortage of 63,677 assignable square feet.
There still would be enough space for regular classrooms without any additions, assuming eleven hours of use each day during a five-day week.
And more than enough space in the college’s library.
2025 shortages, based on programs assumed to be in place, rather than enrollment increases, follow:
- Teaching laboratories & service (e.g., storage) – 19,460 assignable square feet
- Open laboratories & service – 4,807 asf
- Offices & service – 5,950 asf
- Recreation – 3,452 asf
- Other academic space – 2,946 asf
- Athletics/physical education – 12,188 asf
- Assembly & exhibit – 884 asf
- Collaborative learning/group study – 2,721 asf
- Physical plant – 2,515 asf
- Fire science – 966 asf
- Student center – 13.106 asf
Consultants spent two days on campus “talking to various administrative and student entities,” Frank Markley of Paulien & Associates explained.
No contact was mentioned with taxpayers.
Although there was no shortage of classrooms discovered, Markley found that “certain classroom [sizes] could be used more efficiently,” while some were at capacity.
Molly Walsh asked if that meant there was not the right mix of classrooms.
The answer was, “Yes.”
The bench marks used were national standards for community colleges.
Walsh pointed out that the projected needs were “based on programmatic needs” and that “enrollment was not a critical factor.”
Markley explained that “as a college gets larger, it needs less space per student.”
“So, you’re aware enrollment is going down? People are leaving McHenry County. Third graders are down,” Karen Tirio asked.
Markley replied that he had “found a lot of discrepancy in the population data.
“We don’t use just a headcount or FTE [Full-Time Equivalent]. We look at the students on the campus.
“It simply wasn’t a major factor in our analysis.”
“Maybe we ought to get rid of some programs that just aren’t working,” Tirio suggested.
“We didn’t look into that,” the consultant replied.
Student Trustee Jason Memmen thought that returning Veterans would offset the lower number of students who would be graduating from high school in the future.
He noted that the current Veterans Center is inadequate.
After the presentation I asked if the art exhibit room across the hall from the MCC Board meeting room could be turned into a Veterans Center.
The consultants deferred such a decision to the college board.
In discussion after the presentation, Cynthia Kisser pointed out that the college’s 2013-2018 strategic plan was only approved by three of the current Trustees.
She suggested the current board members review it before proceeding to Phase 2 or the space utilization study.
Kisser also wanted to hear the use that would be made of extra recommended space.
Dominick Demonica of Demonica Kemper Architects pointed out that what had been “presented today is significantly less than what was previously reported.”
That was put on the agenda of the next Committee of the Whole meeting.
Discussion on the recommendations will also take place at next Tuesday’s Board meeting.
Phase 1 of the study cost $76,300.
The total cost will be $131,200.