Recently completed projects around campus are already making a positive impact on student life, President Mike Metke informed the board during the monthly trustees’ meeting held Jan. 26.
Dr. Metke said these projects are geared towards creating accessibility to areas on campus thus catering to certain needs of students, improving safety and enhancing the look and feel of the campus. Projects mentioned included the new demo iron on cast stone fence around Rogers Student Center, the Residential Life and Housing renovation project which has a grand opening scheduled for late February, and the creation of new offices in Pirtle Technology Center.
The project that stole the spotlight was the newly installed elevator in Potter Hall.
“It looks like it was part of the original building and now it’s totally compliant with handicap accessibility,” Dr. Metke explained to the board.
It is this elevator that allows students such as Brett Burks, a 20-year-old sophomore from Canton who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and needs an aid to get to and from class, to finally enjoy the classes he wants.
“That’s exactly why I’ve waited three semesters to take this class,” Burks said referring to the prior lack of an elevator in the building.
As a radio, television and film major, a majority of Burk’s classes take place in Potter Hall’s top floor, but up until now he hasn’t been able to access the classroom due to his wheelchair and therefore he could not take the class. All of that changed with the completion of the new project and Burk is now enjoying the opportunity to learn and live what he loves.
Laura Krantz, professor and department chair of Communications and Student Media, also sees the many benefits of inserting an elevator into Potter Hall even though she was inarguably affected by it. This elevator cut Mrs. Krantz’s newsroom, equipped with multiple computers, offices, desks, and what serves as headquarters for the Apache Pow-Wow, down by more than 100 square feet.
“The positives totally outweigh the negatives because we are now accessible to an array of students who want to take these courses. We are really fortunate now to get to have Brett come and take this class and it was interesting that the first semester we had the elevator available we had a student who couldn’t take this class before come and be in it,” Krantz said. “Obviously the downside is that we lost quite a large chunk of our room, but at the same time, we are already two weeks into it and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that big of a challenge for us.”
The campus projects were not the only success story shared within the meeting. Sarah Van Cleef, vice president of business affairs, revealed that the college’s current financial status also looks good.
According to Van Cleef, the college made $6.6 million in December, which is a significant increase from the $4.9 million made last December. This brings the cumulative revenue for this school year to $31.6 million.
This increase is due to strong tax collections and the increase in tuition and fees established in the fall.
Other topics discussed included a memorial for Ellis Smith, a well respected and longtime custodian who took care of the Wagstaff gym floor for many years and recently died, a presentation on academic foundations and everything that their program is accomplishing, consideration of an interlocal agreement between Smith County and neighboring counties and school districts for conducting elections, and a report on upcoming events by President Metke.