The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of trustees held its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the board room of the Administration Center.

A public hearing was held for the college’s fiscal year 2018 budget.  No oral or written objections or petitions were heard or submitted.  The board approved the budget as presented.

The board approved the renewal of a lease agreement for the operation and maintenance of the fine arts wing of the Crest Area Arts and Recreation Center.  Prior to the vote, Tom Lesan, SWCC vice president of economic development, explained to the board that originally, in 1990, the city of Creston and the college had entered into a 99 year lease for the Performing Arts Center.  Later, Lesan said, it was discovered that the college board of trustees could only obligate future boards for a period of nine years.  At that time, the original lease was amended to state the agreement would be in place for nine years and renewable for up to 11 separate agreements on the same terms and conditions.  Lesan said this agreement has worked very well through the years for SWCC and the city.

In personnel, the board accepted the early retirement request of Randy Hughes, history instructor, and Lori Lester, biology instructor, effective at the end of their current contracts.  Hughes started as an adjunct instructor in 1989 and moved to his full-time instructor position in August 2006.  Lester, of Creston, started in August 2005 and has always been employed as a full-time biology instructor. 

Tia Samo, SWCC chief financial officer, spoke to the board regarding proposed increases in student housing costs for the 2017-18 academic year.  The board approved the proposed rates as follows:  apartment-style housing rates will be $3,630 per semester in Spartan Court, Spartan Hall, and Spartan Suites; traditional-style housing rates will be $3,230 per semester in West Hall and Wilson Hall; and the three levels of Café Cash at the Spartan Café will increase to $925, $1,125, and $1,325.  In addition, the student housing contract buy out amount will be increased from $600 to $750.

A short discussion was held regarding the possible development of an articulation agreement with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for a degree in PGA golf management.

During the president’s report, Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president told the board spring 2017 commencement will be held on Friday, May 12, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Center gymnasium.

Beth Kulow, SWCC dean of student services, briefed the board regarding recent academic and athletic achievements of SWCC students such as two Business Professionals of America students qualifying for nationals, Phi Theta Kappa receiving statewide awards, the men’s basketball team qualifying for nationals, and the women’s basketball team having the best season in years.

Jerry Smith, board member from Osceola and the college’s Iowa Association for Community College Trustees (IACCT) representative, gave a brief update on the February IACCT meeting and Community College Day on the Hill, which was held on Tuesday, February 28.

The board then went in to closed session to complete the annual CEO evaluation for SWCC President Dr. Barb Crittenden.