Former McHenry County Board President Ron Parrish is quite pleased with what administrators offered up Thursday night to solve the science and health science facility deficiency.
“Wonderful,” was his first comment after the presentation by newly-installed President Clint Gabbard.
“This is a nice response to the last ten times we’ve discussed it.”
“I’m sorry it took a year and a change in leadership,” he said in a not to subtle slap at former President Vickie Smith.
“You absolutely have my 1000% support.”
The administration was sent back to the drawing board when potential donors balked at contributing to the $35 million project, which did not have unanimous board support.
The most recent proposal–the $35 million one–was approved on a 4-3 vote with Parrish, Karen Tirio and Chris Jenner in opposition.
“I believe out financial supporters will applaud loudly.”
Cost of building the unconnected science addition would be $921,928, according to Pepper Construction, which indicated that the estimate was pretty solid because the firm is currently building two such college facilities and “the lack of creativity in the design.”
The question the administration tried to answer, Gabberd said was, “What does it cost to create the space for our labs to be modern and efficient?”
After the proposal was outlined, Trustee Molly Walsh observed that was the “critical space.”
“I would agree and you’ll get a chance to see what that will cost stripped of everything else,”Trustee Cynthia Kisser added.
She noted that one of every fourteen students would utilize the new space.
Gabbard pretty much apologized for the administration’s slow learning curve.
“You guys have been telling us [what to do].
“We were having a heard time listening.”
Trustee Karen Tirio asked a key question:
“How do we plan on paying for this?”
The answer was in three parts:
- 1/3 from cash on hand
- 1/3 from donations
- 1/3 from students (instead of a $10 per semester hour user fee, students would pay $5)
“That’s early thinking,” Gabbard said.
Parrish noted that the Ambutal on Route 31 would not be adequate because of the distance from the main campus and the fact that students would be taking other courses at the main campus.
Jenner, who participated by phone, had criticism that the meeting was not being recorded and live streamed, but concluded–without being able to see the handouts–that it “sounds like we’re going in the right direction.”
“Duly noted,” Board President Mike Smith said, pointing out that no votes were to be taken.
Kisser advocate for space for students to congregate in the new building.
That could be accomplished by building a covered walkway from the rest of the campus complex to a lobby, costing $718,000, and/or lengthening the building so hallways could be made wider in the middle (cost about $272,000).
She noted that under the proposal the Board would be “jettisoning completely more student space.”
There was discussion of paying for LEED certification or going in that direction without paying the for the designation.
Toward the end of the discussion, Gabbard observed, “This is a great plan to raise money on.”
The cost estimates are below: