The Southwestern Community College board of trustees held its regular meeting on Tues., March 8, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. in the board room of the Administration Center.

A public hearing was held for the college’s fiscal year 2017 budget.  No oral or written objections or petitions were heard or submitted.  The board approved the budget as presented.


Tia Samo, SWCC chief financial officer, spoke to the board regarding proposed increases in student housing costs for the 2016-17 academic year.  The board approved the proposed rates as follows:  apartment-style housing rates will be $3,480 per semester in Spartan Court, Spartan Hall, and Spartan Suites; traditional-style housing rates will be $3,105 per semester in West Hall and Wilson Hall; and the three levels of Café Cash at the Spartan Café will increase to $900, $1,100, and $1,300.  For Café Cash, the minimum level of $900 will be required for all students living on campus.

In personnel, the board accepted the resignation of Charlie Mundy, Osceola high school carpentry instructor.  Mundy had been an instructor with the college since November 2006.  In addition to his duties as carpentry instructor, Mundy had also been the sports shooting coach since 2013.  Marc Roberg of Afton has been hired to replace Mundy in that position.

Also in personnel, the board approved the early retirement request of Carol Maske, business instructor, effective at the end of her current contract.  Maske had been employed in the college’s business and information technology department since August 2005.

Tom Lesan, SWCC vice president of economic development, presented to the board regarding purchase of a new computer software system for the college.  Lesan said the current system has been in place since 1984.  He reminded the board, as mentioned at the February 2016 board meeting, that the college’s administrative cabinet had been discussing a three- to five- year replacement plan for the system.  Lesan said following numerous presentations and conference calls, two bids were received for the project.  The bids were $898,366 from Jenzabar and $1,496,827 from Ellucian.  Following discussion, the board approved the bid from Jenzabar.  Lesan said implementation will begin as early as July and take approximately 18 months to complete.

The board approved the proposed plans, specifications, forms of contract, and estimate of total cost for the Spartan Drive reconstruction project.  The board then set a public hearing for the project on April 12, 2016, at 5:30 p.m., in the board room of the Administration Center.  As discussed at the January 2016 board meeting, reconstruction of Spartan Drive, the road wrapping around the west side of the college’s Instructional Center, will take place during summer 2016. 

Samo, who began work as Southwestern’s chief financial officer in February 2016, was appointed as board treasurer.  Mary Jo Skarda, SWCC administrative assistant for the president and board secretary, had been serving as interim board treasurer since December 2015, when the college’s chief financial officer position became open.

During the president’s report, board members received an update on construction in the 200-bay of the Instructional Center.  Lesan explained the carpet was being laid with hope that a certificate of occupancy would be received by Wednesday.  Lesan told the board the ICN rooms were operational and desks and furniture were being assembled.

Lesan told the board about plans for RAGBRAI this summer.  The bike ride is scheduled to get to Creston on July 25.  Lesan explained to the board that bike riders will now be entering Creston on Highway 25 with a welcome center being set-up on campus.  Lesan said the college will be utilized as one of the main campgrounds in Creston for the event.

Lesan also told the board about the college’s 50th anniversary celebration being planned for Sat., April 16, from 2-4 p.m., in the Student Center.  This will be a come-and-go event with tours of the nursing simulation lab, career and technical education program areas, and the residence halls.  There will be live music by the professional music department.  The public is invited.

Beth Kulow, SWCC dean of student services, talked to the board regarding the college’s Pay it Forward (PIF) Week, which is scheduled for April 16-22.  Kulow said events planned for the week will include a 5K run/walk, a campus-wide cookout, blood drive, Poster Day, Meals from the Heartland packaging event, and Student Awards Ceremony.  The complete schedule is available on SWCC’s website at

Jerry Smith, board member from Osceola and the college’s Iowa Association for Community College Trustees (IACCT) representative, gave a report on IACCT activities.  Smith noted that Ken Rech, SWCC board president from Red Oak, was honored at the IACCT 2016 Conference in Des Moines for his 35 years of service to community colleges. 

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