Kaskaskia College held its final in a series of Community
Advisory Board meetings in Nashville on Monday, November 18 at the Nashville
Education Center. The meetings are
designed as a way to inform the community of the status of the College and to
solicit feedback on how KC can best serve the needs of area employers and citizens.
Dr. Jim Underwood, President of Kaskaskia College, led the
attendees through a booklet entitled “Kaskaskia College Report to the Community,
2013-14” that he called the College’s report card. Dr. Underwood pointed out the increased
enrollments at the College over the last decade, due in part to increased use
of the Education Centers found in communities throughout the district. Nashville has one of the smallest Education
centers, but despite its lack of space and amenities it has seen increased use
by students since its inception several years ago.
Dr. Underwood pointed out that the College last year
received approval from the Higher Learning Commission (the college accrediting
agency) for full program offerings at all of KC’s extension centers, which will
allow the College to migrate more classes and programs away from the main
campus. The problem for Nashville is a
lack of space to host this increased amount of educational programming.
The meeting took place in the largest space available at the
Nashville Center, a room that hosts many classes and doubles as a science
laboratory, despite seating only 20 persons in a pinch. With a full house of
attendees seated at the tables, some had to make do with folding chairs lined
up against the walls. The cramped space
served to act as an illustration of why a larger space for education is needed
for the Washington County area.
Therefore, it was little surprise that talk soon turned to
the project to expand the Nashville Education Center from its current 3,500
square feet of leased space to a new facility to be built on Highway 127 north
of Nashville that will comprise over 12,000 square feet of instructional and
community space. The land for the
expansion has been approved for purchase by the Board of Trustees, and a design
for the building has also been approved.
The Board has allocated $1,770,000 in extended bond funds for the
project, and the College recently launched a fundraising campaign to raise the
remainder of $1,285,000 needed to bring the project to completion. The project is part of the College’s capital
building plan, which will expand and or renovate facilities throughout the
district without the need for a tax increase.
In the question and answer portion of the meeting, attendees
were encouraged to make comments or ask questions about the College and the
proposed building project. The comments
were uniformly positive as Advisory Board members shared their experiences with
KC and the Nashville Center.
Most questions concerned new programming planned for the
expanded Center when it opens. Dr. Greg
Labyak, Vice-president of Instruction for KC, pointed members to the page in
the booklet which highlighted the proposed courses, which includes Nurse
Assistant and Certified Nurse Assistant, Paramedicine, Early Childhood
Education, and Supervisory Management courses, along with a plethora of general
education classes. Dr. Labyak also
pointed out that the increased space will allow for the College to remain
flexible enough to include classes and courses to fill changing needs in the