Trustees push back start of facilities master plan

Andy Cagle

March 7, 2014

HAMLET — At its March meeting, the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees voted to delay the implementation of the college’s facilities master plan, reversing a course of action set forth at its January meeting. That delay included a vote to rescind the request to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners for a bond referendum to fund construction projects on the College’s main campus in Hamlet.

“Given economic and political considerations in the county right now, we felt it was best to delay the implementation of the plan,” said Bert Unger, chair of the board’s buildings and grounds committee.

The Board of Trustees approved two motions at its January meeting to move forward with Phase I of the master plan. The first was a request to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners to place a $15 million bond referendum on the November 2014 ballot. The second was the authorization for RCC’s administration to advertise for an architect for the advanced planning and modeling of phase I.

Phase I consists of a new building to house the college’s student services functions and additional classroom space, expanded parking, and related renovations. Since 2007, RCC’s credit-earning student body has grown 45 percent but no additional classroom space has been added to the main campus. While the college has been able to accommodate this growth, campus facilities are at capacity, essentially stalling any plans for program expansion or the addition of new programs and jeopardizing the college’s ability to effectively provide critical services such as counseling and tutoring, according to RCC President Dale McInnis, PhD.

No timeframe was given as to when the plan would be revisited.

In other business,

Tony Clarke, PhD and RCC’s chief academic officer, updated the board on a new summer session schedule for 2014. For the first time, the college will offer two overlapping summer sessions. In addition to the regular eight-week summer session, there will now be a five-week summer session that starts on June 16.

“We wanted to reach out to local students who were coming home from the four-year schools but still wanted to take courses during the summer,” said Clarke. “We did this by expanding our offerings of courses that will transfer back to the universities.

The also board approved three policy updates:

— An updated tobacco free campus policy that bans electronic cigarettes on campus

— An updated attendance policy that distinguishes course failure due to attendance (the assigned grade of “WF”) and a failure due to inadequate academic performance (the assigned grade of “F”).

— An updated student code of conduct that contains routine verbiage updates. The policy language is reviewed periodically to make any corrections that are needed to keep the policy current.

McInnis updated the board on the College’s plans for its 50th Anniversary Celebrations in April. RCC will be hosting a reunion for retired and former employees and alumni on April 10. A gala that will serve as a fundraiser for RCC’s Working Scholarship fund will be held on April 12 in the College’s Robert L. and Elizabeth S. Cole Auditorium.

“This College has grown tremendously over the last 50 years,” said McInnis. “We felt it appropriate to take the time to celebrate the success of the first half century of RCC, while we look to make the next 50 years even better for our students and our community.”

The board of trustees approved a new logo package for the College that will be unveiled at the 50th anniversary celebration.

Andy Cagle is director of Marketing and Communications for Richmond Community College.