Creston— The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of directors met Tuesday, October 8, 2013, at 5:30 p.m., in the Administration Center on the Creston campus.

The board welcomed new trustee Zach Gunsolley of Diagonal, who was elected during the September 10, 2013, school elections.

During the meeting, Ken Rech of Red Oak was re-elected as president of the college’s board.  Rech has been president of the board since 2008.  Dennis Davis of Greenfield was re-elected as the board’s vice president.  SWCC Assistant to the President Mary Jo Skarda was re-appointed as board secretary and SWCC Chief Financial Officer Teresa Krejci was re-appointed as board treasurer.

The board re-appointed the following members to the Education Foundation board for the 2013-14 year:  Patti Bricker of Greenfield, Larry Giles of Mt. Ayr, Amy Hook of Creston, Randy Huewe of Creston, Karl Knock of Creston, Rick Oshel of Osceola, Allen Pohren of Red Oak, Connie Purdum of Creston, Jerry Smith of Osceola, Alec Turner of Corning, and Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC representative.

Tom Lesan, SWCC vice president of economic development, requested authorization from the board to plan for construction of a new residence hall on campus.  Lesan reminded the board the Master Facilities Plan, approved in December 2012, included the addition of two new residence halls.  According to Lesan, SWCC is currently at 104 percent occupancy in student housing and has been losing potential students in recent years due to lack of housing openings.

Lesan said the college’s administration was proposing a new three-story apartment-style housing facility with capacity for 88 students.  Lesan said the estimated cost for this project is $6.2 million.  Funding would include a $1.2 million no-interest USDA REDL&G loan through area Rural Electric Cooperatives, as well as revenue bonds.

Due to the lack of student housing affecting the college’s enrollment adversely, Lesan said administration proposed an aggressive timeline with completion in September 2014.  Following discussion, the board authorized college administration to proceed with planning and preparation for the addition of a residence hall.

During the president’s report, community college legislative liaisons Dave Palmer and Jerry Fitzgerald, reported on the current legislative session.

Beth Kulow, SWCC dean of student services, presented a report to the board showing fall SWCC enrollment at 1,573 students and a total of 15,303 credits. 

Lesan then spoke to the board briefly concerning recent passage of the college’s Plant Fund Levy.  The levy, which is continuation of a levy first established in 1966, was on the September 10, 2013, voting ballot.  Rech stated he wanted to thank all the residents of Southwestern’s region for their continued support of the college.

Jerry Smith, SWCC board member from Osceola and Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT) representative, explained the role of IACCT to SWCC board members.  Smith noted SWCC and Northwest Iowa Community College will co-host the 2014 IACCT Retreat from March 31-April 1, 2014, in Des Moines.