MCC Students To Pay $10 per Credit Hour for Addition, Approval Granted for $34 Million Project

By a unanimous vote, including Student Trustee Jeremy Sacrament, McHenry County College Trustees voted to impose a $10 per credit hour infrastructure fee starting this summer.

One Trustee called it a “user fee.”

Including the extra $10, the cost per credit hour will be $132, bringing MCC’s up from 33rd least expensive to 31st (subject to what three other community colleges decide).

The fee will be charged for at least one year.

Then, if the $15 million counted on to be raised from donors does not materialize for the renovation and expansion project, the fee will disappear.

Clint Gabbard

Clint Gabbard

Depending on the success, it could also be lowered.

New President Clinton Gabbard emphasized that his success in fundraising would be helped if he could tell donors the College was funding a significant portion.

Debt certificates would be utilized to borrow funds needed, rather than going to the voters for referendum approval for bonds. The interest rate in a recent re-financing was between 2 and three percent.

The project is driven by the need to renovate two decrepit science labs and provide adequate space for nursing and physical therapy training programs.

The project is designed to product 66,400 square feet of new space and remodel 41,300 square feet in the current building.

Testifying against the fee in the Public Comment period was student Erick Marclessault.

“Kids aren’t able to pay for college as it is,” he said.

He criticized Governor Bruce Rauner for not having a budget that would supply MAP grants and was unhappy that the Board had not asked the voters for more money over the last three years.

I followed him, pointing out that one of the goals of the Governor was to give local governments the ability to waive the Prevailing Wage law, which might save 20% on the $34.4 million construction project.

I also criticized the 10% contingency fee built into the project costs, telling the Board that a Jefferson Wells forensic auditor said he’d look at such fee over 5%.

While no one voted against charging the students more, the vote on proceeding with the construction project was only approved 4-3.

Voting in favor were Cynthia Kisser, Linda Liddell, Mike Smith and Molly Walsh.

Opposed were Chris Jenner, Ron Parrish and Karen Tirio.

The three seemed to think that all the fat had not been squeezed out of the project yet.


MCC Students To Pay $10 per Credit Hour for Addition, Approval Granted for $34 Million Project — 12 Comments

  1. I cannot believe they passed this project without getting basic questions answered about space in the new labs versus old and about utilization of the current labs!

    There is no question the labs need to be updated, but the “evidence” for this particular “solution” was simply lacking.

    As God is my witness, I swear this will be end of certain people’s political careers if I have to walk every precinct in McHenry County myself in 2017 AND 2021.

  2. The following excerpt is from:
    (Association of Physical Plant Administrators)

    To review the use and utilization of class laboratories on a campuses, three steps are needed:

    First, match the facilities room inventory database of class laboratories with the registrar’s record of regularly and formally scheduled class labs and identify any rooms that have not been scheduled for use.

    Second, analyze class laboratory use and utilization to identify any sparsely used laboratories, and single these out for additional analysis.

    Third, from these steps identify and document the class laboratories that have little or no use—too little demand, too much capacity, outdated equipment or obsolete space that no one wants to use.

    Based on this information, decide how to proceed: revise or consolidate the laboratory portion of the course to better manage the space; provide physical improvements to the space to encourage and promote better use of the room; or, remove the space from departmental use and reassign it for another higher priority need.

  3. It is stunning that this educational facility school board majority remains WILLFULLY ignorant.

    No individual research evidence was cited to support $34 million new building expansion rather than simply updating obsolete science lab space at the cost of $150-$500 per square foot.

    It is as if the Board chairman wants to have control of many millions of dollars to allocate to contractors, and in order to get it, he uses buzzwords like ‘science lab’ and ‘STEM’ to imply that in order to GET ‘science labs’ and ‘STEM’, his way is the only way.

    The ladies who are cheerleaders of this project have not used evidence-based analytic processes in arriving at their evangelical fervor in promoting Solution B for Problem A.

  4. 10% contingency fund???

    That might be a lot of money!

    Watch out for change orders!

  5. Just add to the space that is not fully utilized.

    Use of the ol end around game by the board majority.

    They could not take N O .

    Student space?

    Take a look a close at the the usage of the $6 mil cafeteria space.

    Another waste of $.

  6. This behavior, this willful disregard for the wellbeing of the community, is strong evidence of the need for a
    Property Tax RATE Cap in McHenry County.

    Woodstock property tax rate is 4.6% of total home value. (By comparison, Indiana has a 1% property tax rate cap. The national average property tax rate is 1.4%. Mortgage interest rates are below 4%).

    Other communities think that can’t happen to them?
    Take a look at profligate spending such as this. That’s how you get there.

  7. Susan, you are a gem.

    Finding a professional reference that documents the steps to be taken in making a decision is much more powerful than mere common sense.

    It documents the PROFESSIONAL failure by the firm hired to make the recommendation and is therefore a powerful indictment of this firm.

    Keep that reference handy, Susan.

    Speak to it publicly at the next meeting.

    Put it in a letter.

    Make clear ALL local governments should be following these steps.

    Put them on notice.

  8. Leave no McHenry County resident unfleeced
    regardless of income, age or any other factor.

  9. Why can’t we just cap property taxes (crap I’d be happy with 2.5% and extremenly happy with 2%) and let everyone hash it out that needs a piece of the pie?

    It’s something that Cook county should go for since their property taxes are much lower than ours (last time I talked about it with a friend in Cook county he told me he’s paying 1.2% of his home value).

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