GRCC Board of Trustees discuss financial and construction updates

GRCC Board of Trustees discuss financial and construction updates

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President Pink meeting with the Board of Trustees.

The final Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees meeting of the 2017 calendar year took place on Monday

Vice President of Finance Administration, Lisa Freiburger, took to the podium to ask the Board to approve the annual summer property tax collection, as well as Bond Refunding from 2008, which was a refund from 1998.

Freiburger informed the Board that a “positive budget amendment” would be on the table at the February meeting, once she and the Finance Department have a better idea of the Winter semester enrollment numbers.

“The numbers look to be on, or higher than, our original projections,” Freiburger said. “Fall enrollment was significantly better than our original projections as well.”

Freiburger provided updates for the renovation of the Ford Fieldhouse, which has a new roof, and the interior renovation is set to begin in May, and scheduled for completion in Jan. 2019. The project for the Applied Technology Center building is currently in the schematic phase, which upon completion, must be approved by the state. Upon approval for the state budget, the project is likely to begin in May 2019.

GRCC President Dr. Bill Pink introducing the first of three guest presentations with the first from Julie Parks, Executive Director of Workforce Training and Linda Witte, Primary Director of the Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program. The presentation highlighted the success of the program. Along with many sponsors including Mercy Health and Michigan Works, GRCC worked with Muskegon Community College and Montcalm Community College trough the Michigan Works partnership.

So far, 28 students have graduated from the program at GRCC, with 20 more potential students coming from MCC. “We anticipate 18-22 students in the upcoming year,” Witte said.

Each year, the interest in the program has risen. After the first  year, the program attracted 46 students, then the following year 192 students showed interest in the program. This year administrators report that more than 450 people throughout the community have asked about the program.

“The biggest benefit to GRCC is the diversification of the Medical Apprenticeship Program,” Parks said. “It was 93 percent white women when we started the program 18 cohorts ago. Now, we are up to almost 40 percent diversity in our open-enrollment program.”

Next, GRCC Athletic Director, Bill Firn, approached the podium and recognized Freshman Volleyball All-American Kendra DeJonge for her accomplishments throughout the season and awards at the end of the season.

“Kendra was one of the key pieces to the No. 3, nationally ranked team,” Firn said. “Kendra was honored after the season with a number of awards. Including Conference Freshman of the Year, First Team All-Conference and First Team All-Region. Come to find out that was not the top peak of what she was going to be awarded with. Just last week, Kendra was awarded with the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Second Team All-American Award, which is our tenth in the Volleyball program. But she was the first ever American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American.”

Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, Tina Hoxie, introduced and recognized Grand Rapids Public Schools student Adriana Johnson for earning the Helen Claytor Achievement Scholarship, which is a scholarship that is paired with GRPS and GRCC and “honors outstanding young women in high school,” as well as performing outstanding work in the community.

Johnson was one of the first participants in a newly established program called “Girl’s Court,” which is a specialty court within Kent County’s 17th District. Johnson acted as an advocate for girls in the juvenile system, and addressed the court to push an expansion to the program. “Girl’s Court” is a multidisciplinary approach to young female offenders. It provides them with intensive treatment and incentives, as well as community-based support. The goal of the program is to minimize offenses as well as improving education of young females. Johnson used her leadership platform to push change to the entire juvenile system, to encompass everyone in the system.

Next, President of Student Alliance, Cale Merdzinski, reflected on the past semester and the success that student leaders and student organizations achieved.

“It’s my hope that the connection felt between student organizations produce retainment,” Merdzinski said. “That is to keep any meaningful events on campus (Welcome Week, Homecoming) from year-to-year.”

Student Alliance submitted their request for allocation of funds for their Black History Month celebrations, which (if approved) will take place each Wednesday in the month of February, from 12-2 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 at 4:15 p.m.

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