Creston—The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of trustees met on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, at 5:30 p.m., in the board room of the college’s Administration Center.

The board approved the resignation of Steve Crittenden from the Education Foundation board of directors. Dr. Marge McGuire-Welch, SWCC president, said Crittenden is retiring from his position at First National Bank in Creston and, therefore, is stepping down from the Education Foundation board. It was recommended that Julie Lanning, president and CEO of First National Bank, be appointed to fill the vacancy created by Crittenden’s resignation. Following discussion, the board approved Crittenden’s resignation and appointed Lanning for the remainder of the term.

Lana Bartmess, SWCC director of human resources, spoke to the board concerning the college’s Quality Faculty Plan. Bartmess said the only change noted in the plan, revised August 2022, is a change in the Quality Faculty Plan Committee membership. Dr. Dan Platt, former English instructor, resigned his position at SWCC and, therefore, will be replaced by Justin Mann, math instructor. Following Bartmess’ report, the board approved the Quality Faculty Plan.

Tia Samo, SWCC chief financial officer, spoke concerning the college’s asset protection. She said the college’s insurance rates would be increasing for the coming year. She introduced Devon Tyler-Leith of Tyler Insurance Services, Inc., in Creston, to explain the reasons behind the increase.

Tyler-Leith began her presentation by explaining this insurance renewal season as unprecedented. She said early warning said renewal premium increases could be at least 16 percent. According to Tyler-Leith, extreme weather events such as tornadoes, floods, and derechos have pushed Iowa into the top 10 states for weather damage.

After much discussion with SWCC administrators and EMC Insurance, the college’s insurance carrier, Tyler-Leith said the decision was made to increase the valuations of SWCC property from $68,685,725 to $108,958,283, an increase of more than $40,000,000. Deductibles were also closely scrutinized and adjusted. New deductibles include a $2,500 deductible for all buildings/all perils excluding the Allied Health & Science Center ($25,000 deductible for wind and hail) and the Instructional Center ($50,000 deductible for wind and hail). These two buildings are insured for $21,027,900 and $31,324,800 respectively.

EMC’s safety group, made up of a group of colleges, also made changes for liability lines of coverage including reducing the excess group coverage. Tyler-Leith said the college’s umbrella was increased to the maximum offered, $5,000,000. She explained because the college’s work comp frequency remained low, she was able to negotiate a 20 percent credit in that area. According to Tyler-Leith, with all the changes discussed, insurance charges will be $511,231 for 2022-23, up from $375,840 from 2021-22.

Wayne Pantini, SWCC assistant vice president of economic development, reviewed the Bond Trac report. Pantini said there are four companies in Southwestern’s region in the current Bond Trac. He said they are on track to get all companies making payments.

Kim Bishop, SWCC dean of student services, reported preliminary enrollment figures for the fall 2022 semester to the SWCC board. Bishop said the college is really excited about enrollment this fall. Bishop said SWCC’s official 14-day census numbers, following the start of the fall semester, are at 1,581 students enrolled and at a total of 14,637 credit hours. Due to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 years, Bishop compared the current enrollment figures to last year’s numbers, as well as 2019 pre-COVID numbers. According to Bishop, the fall 2022 enrollment of 1,581 students puts SWCC up 37 students and 705 credit hours from fall 2021 enrollment. When comparing to pre-COVID numbers from fall 2019, college enrollment is down one student, but up 118 credit hours overall. Bishop said dorm occupancy is at 95 percent for this academic year.

Jerry Smith, board member from Osceola and SWCC representative for Community Colleges for Iowa, spoke briefly about the recent Community Colleges for Iowa board meeting. Smith said the group met the first week of September.