The Southwestern Community College board of trustees held its regular March 2014 meeting on Tues., March 11, 2014, at 5:30 p.m. in the college’s Administration Center.

Teresa Krejci, SWCC chief financial officer, presented to the board regarding the fiscal year 2015 budget.  Krejci said the estimated taxation rate per $1,000 of taxable valuation will be slightly less than last year, at $0.79617 per $1,000 for fiscal year 2015, as opposed to $0.79675 per $1,000 for fiscal year 2014.  According to Krejci, the college’s total property tax asking will continue to represent 2.5 percent or less of a property owner’s total property tax.  The board approved the college’s fiscal year 2015 budget as presented by Krejci.

The board then heard from Krejci regarding an amendment to the college’s fiscal year 2014 budget due to construction costs associated with the residence hall construction project, as well as the Instructional Center remodeling.  Krejci stated the original plant fund budget was published at $6.01 million.  Krejci asked the board for an increase in the budget to $10.01 million.  During discussion with the board, she pointed out the residence hall project was being paid for with revenue bonds and a no-interest loan and the remodeling project in the Instructional Center was paid for with Accelerated Career Education funds, therefore Krejci said there will not be an increase in taxes due to the increase in budget.  The board approved the amendment to the fiscal year 2014 budget.

Tom Lesan, SWCC vice president for economic development, spoke to the board regarding the awarded bid for acoustical ceilings on the residence hall construction project.  Although the bid of $11,858 from Bloodgood Construction was approved during the February 11 SWCC board of trustees meeting, Lesan said Bloodgood Construction was unable to acquire a performance bond within the specified time limit.  Following discussion, the board moved to reject the bid from Bloodgood Construction for acoustical ceilings.

Following the rejection of the bid, the board voted to approve the next highest bid of $13,580 from Heartland Finishes of Des Moines for completion of acoustical ceilings.

Next, the board reviewed the competitive quotes for Bid Package 3.18, electrical alternate.  The board approved the low quote of $127,711 from Armstrong Electric of Greenfield.

The board approved the proposed room and board charges for fiscal year 2015 as presented by Krejci.  The rates per semester include:
•    $3,075 per semester for Spartan Suites, Spartan Hall, and Spartan Court
•    $2,725 per semester for West Hall and Wilson Hall

Krejci said the three levels of Café Cash (funds allocated for meals at the Spartan Café) will remain the same for fiscal year 2015, at $750, $950, and $1,150.  The minimum level of $750 is required for students living in student housing.

A committee of board members including Vicki Sickels of Mt. Ayr, Jerry Smith of Osceola, and Fred Shearer of Corning met with Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, regarding the annual CEO evaluation.  During the meeting, Shearer reported to the board they had a positive meeting and the results of the CEO evaluation were very satisfactory.

During the president’s report, Lesan updated the board on construction progress for Spartan Court, the new residence hall on campus.  He said construction is going well and mentioned the trusses have been delivered and the roof should be sheeted by the end of the week.  Lesan said April 3 is the target date for having windows installed and the roof shingled.

Also on the topic of residence hall construction, Krejci notified the board SWCC’s financial advisor and bond attorney are still working on the bond package.  According to Krejci, due to a more favorable interest rate, the college is being advised to negotiate a bond sale rather than have a competitive bid.  Krejci said the original plan was to have the funds by April 15; however, with the changes mentioned a special board meeting may be necessary to approve the sale of the bonds.

Board members decided to move the regular April board meeting from April 8 to April 15, due to Crittenden and SWCC student Megan Doubleday traveling to the American Association of Community College convention in Washington, D.C. on April 8.  Doubleday was recently selected as Iowa’s New Century Scholar and will be honored at the convention alongside 50 other winners from nationwide, as well as Canada and American Samoa.

Following adjournment, the board went into a collective bargaining strategy session.