Creston— The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of trustees met on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, at 5:30 p.m., for their regular monthly board meeting. 

Dr. Tony Cass, board president, informed the board Dennis Davis, board member from Greenfield, submitted his resignation from the board effective Jan. 31, 2019. Davis has served on the SWCC board since 2001. Cass thanked Davis for his years of dedication and service to the college. The board accepted Davis’ resignation with regret.

Following the approval of Davis’ resignation, Cass appointed board members Fred Shearer, of Corning, and Jerry Smith, of Osceola, to serve on a subcommittee to interview prospective candidates and to make recommendation for a new board member to fill the vacancy during the February regular board meeting.

Bill Taylor, SWCC vice president of instruction, spoke to the board concerning the addition of a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program in criminal justice at the college. Taylor said the program was developed in response to regional demand for employees with criminal justice backgrounds.

According to Iowa Workforce Development Career Coach, there are 594 annual job openings in the criminal justice field within a 50-mile radius of Union County. Between 2018 and 2028, criminal justice careers are expected to increase by 12.5 percent in the same respective area.

Taylor explained the program as a 71-week program consisting of four semesters and a seven-week summer term for a total of 65 credits. He said the program already had obtained approval from the SWCC program advisory committee and the instructional division department chairs.

Following Taylor’s presentation, the board voted to approve the criminal justice program as presented. The program will be in place for students to enroll during the fall 2019 semester.

Tom Lesan, SWCC vice president of economic development, spoke to the board regarding upcoming construction projects at the college:

  • Science lab renovation – The board approved Phase 5 of the Instructional Center remodel project which entails update of the science lab areas. According to Lesan, the science labs are essentially as they were when constructed in the 1970s and therefore are in major need of update.
  • Ag center addition – The board approved a 94’x68’ addition to the existing agricultural instruction building at the SWCC Ag Site. Lesan reported the ag program has 66 ag majors this academic year and there are currently 173 prospects for fall 2019. Lesan said the program is quickly outgrowing the current facility. The approved addition would include a classroom with reinforced walls to be used as a storm shelter area.

Following the approval of the two construction projects, Lesan explained the college would like to utilize the process of hiring an architect and construction manager to oversee the projects. Lesan said the college used a similar process when constructing Spartan Court, the most recent residence hall constructed in student housing. Throughout the process, each subcontractor would be approved by the board and paid directly by the college. In two separate motions, the board authorized college administrators to enter into an agreement for architectural service and a construction manager for both projects.

During the president’s report, Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, introduced Dr. Katie Davidson, SWCC’s new dean of student services. Davidson began her duties at the college on Dec. 18.