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SIC Board Approves New Gym Sound System, Explores New Enrollment Initiatives

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Feb. 21, to take action on the use of bond funds for a worn-out sound system, as well as other action items.

Dean Chad Flannery provided a report that the old gym sound system quit working right before the Greater Egyptian Conference came to Deaton Gymnasium earlier this month, and a new system had to be rented for the event.  Bids were solicited quickly in an attempt to avoid additional future costs of renting equipment.

“We need this system installed soon for events leading up to and including graduation,” said Flannery.

A bond fund reserved for construction and repairs will be used for this project, as well as a new program expansion, as one of many venues the college is exploring to attract students and build enrollment.

President Jonah Rice, Ph.D., explained that the high school population has declined by 14 percent in just over the past decade.  He went on to say that due to this population decline coupled with lack of state support, new and creative venues for growth are necessary to maintain enrollment.  He then cited some of the initiatives in process, including work with SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement), partnerships with industry and K-12 neighbors, and niche markets.

“It looks like the state will stiff us for almost another $2 million this year if there’s no grand bargain,” said Rice.  “We can’t just be reactive all the time.  We have to be proactive at the same time to survive this crisis in Illinois.”

One highly successful niche market for the college has been archery, and not just in terms of national championships but also for new student generation, local appeal, and the most fiscally productive classroom extension activity at the college, according to officials.

The college plans on expanding the archery program from a 3-D team to include an indoor team as well, housed in a simple, bond-funded pole barn structure.

According to Rice, this structure will help to expand enrollment, serve the community, sponsor tournaments, and more.

The bond fund is the same fund that paid for the pole barn storage facility for the trades area in recent years, as well as roof repairs.  Rice also reminded those present that the use of bond funds has no impact on operational funds, and that no operational monies would be used for the project.

Board members voiced support for this enrollment initiative as it celebrates regional culture and promotes SIC as the outdoor recreation school for students in the Midwest.  The measures passed unanimously.

Administrators also provided reports regarding positive meetings with division chairs about other enrollment initiatives; new partnerships with trades organizations that should result in steady growth in career and technical education and allied health fields; and meetings with the health insurance committee.

“I think most people understand the state of our state and how that inaction in Springfield is causing us to reinvent much of what we do in higher education,” Rice said.  “The health insurance committee has heard from experts in the area and we’ve had great talks about how we can control costs.  I appreciate the positive, logical discussion and spirit of cooperation by all groups considered.  That’s the type of communication and comradery we need in tough times.”

The board also took action on a new travel policy due to recent state legislation and passed a Delta Regional Authority resolution for a recent grant for diesel training equipment.

In personnel, the board granted tenure to business instructor Kelsie Rodman and art instructor Sara DeNeal, accepted the resignation of the food service manager and appointed Shirley Malone as interim food service manager.  The board also approved a job transfer for Amy Spivey to financial aid specialist, and approved a job transfer for Lisa Dye to executive assistant to the president and board.  The board employed Cathie Mieldezis as student success center testing coordinator, and approved the upcoming transfer of Lisa Hite to chief financial officer upon David Wright’s upcoming retirement.  Adjunct faculty were also approved.