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Board approves five-year facilities construction plan

The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) Board of Directors approved a five-year facilities building and construction plan during Tuesday’s regular meeting at the college’s Creston campus.

Included in the plan are projected renovations for the college’s Creston, Red Oak and Osceola grounds and facilities.

Planned construction items range from replacing fire-alarm systems and installing ADA accessible restrooms to remodelling building interiors and constructing new dormitories. Cost estimates for projects vary from less than $10,000 to seven digits for new construction.

The facilities plan itself goes to the board of directors for approval each year, and acts as a sort of mega “to-do” list, explains SWCC Vice President of Economic Development Tom Lesan.

“Constantly,” said Lesan, “the administration talks about it. The word fluid, or flexible comes to mind — that kind of thing. You know, we replaced the chiller a year ago because the old chiller wasn’t working anymore. So that moved way up the list and became a priority. So it’s very gray. But once something gets on the list, at least we’re talking about it, planning for it and discussing how we can get it done.”

Lesan said he is happy with where the facilities currently stand, and doesn’t immediately see any items on the list that will face emergency construction.

“Our facilities,” said Lesan, “were built in the 70s — so they’ve been around for a while. And roofs do go bad, and air conditioning units do go out, and those things obviously need replaced. We have a budget for contingencies, and that’s what it’s for; things we’re not planning for.

“But we’re in really pretty good shape,” said Lesan. “Which I like, because they’re talking about cuts. And budget cuts do have an effect. You know, if they (the legislature) do have a special session, and they cut budgets, that’ll definitely affect how much we can get done.”

Safety and protection are the top priorities, and Lesan said ADA handicap doors and ADA accessible restrooms have been common projects.

If there’s room in the budget, however, Lesan does have his eye on a specific new construction for the future.

“We’ve got a practice facility down in the list,” said Lesan, “under athletics for 2018. I would love to get that done. We were just finishing up the new gym floor right now, and then we turn around and in November we’ll move baseball and softball inside and start practicing inside on the gym floor — and that just puts a lot of wear and tear on the floor. And with it being brand new, I’d love to have a separate facility for that. But budgets being what they are now, it won’t be anytime soon.”


Lance Stonehocker has been approved by the board as information technology systems networking instructor for the 2017-18 academic year.

Stonehocker received an Associate of Applied Science in business systems networking from SWCC, and previously worked as information systems technician for Clarke County Hospital in Osceola.

The board also approved the resignation of Pedro J. Hernandez, physical education instructor, effective immediately. Hernandez was employed by SWCC for two-and-a-half years.

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