Creston— The Southwestern Community College board of trustees met on Tues., January 13, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. in the board room of the Administration Center. 

The board voted to extend the college’s early retirement policy for employees through June 30, 2015.  Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, stated there are 26 staff members eligible for early retirement.  The college’s early retirement policy has an April 1, 2015, application deadline.

A public hearing was set for March 10, 2015, at 5:30 p.m., in the board room of the SWCC Administration Center, to accept bids for remodeling of the Allied Health & Science Center to house a simulation lab.  According to Tom Lesan, SWCC vice president of economic development, drawings for the project will be available in early-February with bids being opened March 2, 2015.  Lesan said the lab itself, estimated at a cost of $250,000--$300,000 will be constructed with funds from the college’s plant fund budget and have a completion date of May 24, 2015. 

The health care simulation lab will house items purchased through a grant received from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Information Technology, Healthcare, Utilities, and Manufacturing (IHUM) grant from the United States Department of Labor.  The college’s share of the $15 million grant, awarded to Iowa’s community colleges in 2014, is approximately $1 million.  Bill Taylor, SWCC vice president of instruction, said SWCC’s portion of the grant will be spent to purchase full-body wireless patient simulators, hire a simulation lab coordinator, and hire a retention specialist, all for the nursing education program.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of a 35-passenger shuttle from Master’s Transportation, Inc., in Dexter, for $157,980.  Prior to the vote, Lesan explained to the board with the addition of sports programs such as cross country, track, and sports shooting, there have been numerous conflicts in scheduling the larger fleet vehicles; therefore, the college began looking at lease/purchase options.  After thorough research on the topic, bids were accepted for a Ford F-650 35-passenger vehicle.

During discussion of monitoring process, Ken Rech, board president from Red Oak, asked if final payments had been made for Spartan Court, the college’s newest residence hall, constructed in 2014.  Lesan responded that the payments have been made and indicated he would make a presentation on this topic at the February board meeting.

During the president’s report, the board received an update regarding the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Grant.  Taylor explained the community colleges of Iowa were awarded a $13 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) Grant in 2012, with SWCC’s portion of the grant being approximately $700,000.  Taylor said the grant funds were used to expand the college’s nine-month welding program to include a two-year associate of applied science (AAS) degree and develop a new industrial maintenance technology program, which consists of a 10-month diploma and a two-year AAS degree.  Taylor said these funds allowed the college to develop curriculum, hire instructors, purchase equipment and supplies, and remodel existing space.  The board toured the facilities following the meeting.

Jerry Smith, SWCC board member from Osceola and Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT) representative, reported he would be attending the state IACCT meeting next week in Des Moines.