New faces introduced at trustee meeting

10/25/2012

Enrollment up 10.2 percent at GCCC.

Enrollment up 10.2 percent at GCCC.

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Garden City Community College President Herbert Swender introduced several new college employees to the College Board of Trustees at their regularly-scheduled meeting Wednesday night.

Swender introduced Rand Chappell, head basketball coach, Tegan Matthews, head cheerleading coach, and Dennis Harp, athletic director. He also introduced Jeremy Gigot, executive director of the GCCC Endowment Association.

Gigot spoke briefly on moving forward with fundraising for college scholarships.

He also was recognized for a successful GCCC Endowment Association Phonathon, which was held earlier this month. The event raised $79,116. The money will be used for academic and technical scholarships to assist students.

Gigot said he plans to do more fundraising outside of Garden City, in southwest Kansas.

He said Garden City has been doing the "heavy lifting" when it comes to donating funds.

"We're not a community college anymore. We're a regional college," he said.

Gigot also plans to pursue further fundraising in the city, as well, by visiting church groups, associations and civic groups.

Gigot took charge of the association on Sept. 17. The position had been vacant since last spring, when Melinda Harrington resigned after serving as director since 2008.

During the president's report Wednesday night, Swender announced the final enrollment increase at the college was 10.2 percent, which was the second highest in the state for all colleges and universities.

That number is up from a 9.1 percent increase that was announced in late September. Both counts are the highest that the college has seen in six years.

Ryan Ruda, vice president for student services, cited growth from the career and technical side in terms of people enrolling to learn new career skills and earn their degrees or certification.

He has also said scholarship recruitment, noting higher numbers of students involved in athletics, fine arts programs and other opportunities, have contributed to increased enrollment.

Swender said enrollment has surged past 2,050 students, including more than 1,400 attending full time, an increase of nearly 10 percent over the fall of 2011.

The president enumerated a series of other developments and factors, including:

* GCCC's student loan default rate for 2009, the most recent year reported, has been tabbed by the federal government at 12.3 percent. He also indicated that rates below 15 percent are considered acceptable.

* Bruce K. Exstrom, new vice president for instructional services, is scheduled to arrive from Texas begin work Nov. 1.

* The college plans to launch a recently-approved oil technology program in January, and the president recently had an opportunity to discuss the program with Gov. Sam Brownback.

* The college hopes to expand on its recently-bestowed Military Friendly College designation by exploring the possibility of awarding college credit for military experience.

The trustees on Wednesday night also approved the purchase of new fire alarm systems for three campus buildings, as well as a digital finger and palm print scanning system.

Approval of the purchases was unanimous and took place during consent agenda action, with all six board members present except Ron Schwartz.

The fire alarm proposal, recommended by Swender, includes a $65,477 expenditure to replace fire alarm systems in the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building, Saffell Library and Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex.

"It is our intention to maintain the same Simplex Grinnell systems across campus," he said.

"These systems are compatible and can be linked together for alarm notification, trouble reporting and monitoring purposes," he said.

Simplex Grinnell, with U.S. headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., is considered a single source provider for fire alarm equipment in Kansas, according to the president, and provides GCCC with a state contract discount of 20 percent.¬ Bids will be sought separately for installation.

AFIX Technologies of Pittsburg was the successful bidder for a Cross Match Desktop L-Scan 1000PP Live-Scan Latent/Palm System, which will be used by students in the GCCC Criminal Justice Program.

Linda Morgan, director of the GCCC Department of Public Safety, explained that the laser-based system replaces traditional ink-based finger and palm printing.¬ The system can integrate the department's present software and will come at a cost of $21,756.¬ Most of the expense will be covered by grant funds, including $7,500 from the Garden City-based Finnup Foundation Trust and $13,156 in federal funds from the Carl Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Program.

Other bids, from vendors in Florida and Minnesota, ranged from $22,325.42 to $25,864.

In response to a question from Trustee Merilyn Douglass, board chairman, Swender said the transition to college operation of the Broncbuster Bookstore is proceeding well so far. Previously, the store had been managed by Follet Higher Education Group, under contract to GCCC.¬ The president said in-house management would result in lower costs to students and a greater array of GCCC brand items.

The board also conducted a 15-minute closed session for discussion of possible acquisition of property, but took no action upon returning to open session.

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