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New Buildings and Improvements Coming to SIC

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met on Oct. 17 to discuss new buildings and improvements on campus, state budget concerns and personnel changes, among other matters.

Construction on the Ella Elizabeth Hise Art Museum is on target for bids to go out in early December with approval before the end of the year.  Construction is set to begin in January, weather permitting.  This project is funded entirely through the generous donation of Mr. William C. Hise and his late brother, James C. Hise in honor of their late sister.  The art selection committee met for the first time this month to discuss the first exhibit and subsequent exhibits for next year following completion of the museum.

The Indoor Archery Center in the Chuck Hearn Outdoor Educational Complex will soon be finished.  While open for practice now, the construction company is still finishing some work.  A grand opening with ribbon cutting will be announced later this year.  Recreational leagues and public access information are available and on SIC’s website at

The board was excited to learn that SIC and Illinois Eastern Community Colleges secured a $25,000 matching grant from the Illinois Mine Institute for upgrades in the Mine Simulation Building.  Ventilation improvements will be made, in large part due to the work by Mike Thomas, coal mining coordinator.

Staff reported to the board a flurry of maintenance activity around campus including painting, room upgrades in B Building, refuse clean up, road repairs, wash out repairs, and carpet tile in some areas, among other projects.  Rice expressed his thanks to Director of Environmental Services, Ed Fitzgerald, his staff, and shared maintenance crews for the work.

The board also learned that the SIC Foundation is preparing for a joint fundraiser with Harrisburg Medical Center Foundation in February – a “Friendly” Feud to be held at Morello’s banquet room, with details to come later in the year.  SIC has also discussed a similar endeavor for the next year with Ferrell Hospital.  The SIC Foundation provides scholarships and student support.

In money matters, SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice reported that nearly all of fiscal year (FY) 2017 state funding due to the college is behind in the approximate amount of $400,000, however FY 2018 funding is coming in steady.

“We are being told by some politicians that FY 2019 budget may not come to fruition due to political gridlock,” said Rice.  “We may have to prepare not to have a state higher education budget for FY 19.”

The board discussed a neighboring college working within a high school in SIC’s district.  The neighboring college is using a federal grant, despite the fact that SIC is pursuing the same grant.  Concern was noted how this could affect SIC’s grant application, especially since the SIC did not receive a request to be included in the grant nor sign off on the neighboring college entering the district for said grant. Staff is charged to investigate this situation and report back with options to discuss with the board.

The board also read positive correspondence from retired nursing instructor Shirley Oshel regarding SIC’s top ranked nursing program.

“Shirley is a great advocate for SIC and our nursing program,” said Rice.  “She spent a lot of time here helping build this program into what we have today—the state’s number one nursing program.”

The board also discussed the recent UMWA rejection of a ‘supposal’ made by the college to the UMWA membership for better pay equity based on job position skill requirements.

In action, the board passed numerous revisions to policy, including safety training, English proficiency, and Early College Program, among others.

In personnel, the board approved Cheryl Bond as the new part-time bookstore clerk, accepted the retirement of Trudy Jacobs, Director of the David L. Stanley White County Center, effective Dec. 31, and approved the hire of Holly Healy as Interim Director of the White County Center, effective Nov. 6.

The board also approved the transition of Suzi Wilson, library assistant, to a revised position of student resource assistant, fully effective in January.  Wilson will assist in meeting staffing needs in both the Melba Patton Library and the Dana Keating Student Success Center in the new position.

Two resignations were also accepted by the board:  Lori Sizemore, coordinator of the Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study, and Melissa Hunt, softball coach.  Adjunct faculty were also approved.

The next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room at SIC.