ICCC $25.5M bond referendum on ballot

WC?campus would see building improvements, electric and security updates

— Photo courtesy of Paul DeCoursey Dr. Dan Kinney, president of Iowa Central Community College, speaks at the Webster City Campus on Thursday during an open house.

Voters in Hamilton County and eight other counties on Feb. 6 will decide whether to approve a $25.5 million bond referendum which fund many building upgrades for Iowa Central Community College.

The Webster City Campus of ICCC hosted an open house and tours of the facility Thursday morning to offer area residents a chance to see how the funds would be used at the local campus. About 35 people attended the event. Dr. Dan Kinney, president of Iowa Central, was on hand to discuss the referendum.

“We celebrated our 50th anniversary last year,” he said. “And most of our buildings and facilities are seeing the same age. For us to have the ability to keep up with what’s going on in the classrooms, we’ve got to continue to improve into our facilities.”

In one of the classrooms on the local campus, Kinney pointed to water spots on ceilings where the roof had leaked. In addition to repairing the roof, the windows need to be replaced, he said.

“Those are original windows and they’re starting to leak,” he said. “We can’t do anything in our classrooms until we can seal up our buildings.”

Kinney said additional electrical and security upgrades are also in the plans for the Webster City campus.

About $500,000 of the $25.5 million would be designated for Webster City.

“We’re 50 years old and we need to get our buildings in shape to last for another 50 years,” Kinney said.

Improvements are also planned for the Storm Lake Center. The largest share of the funds would go to the Fort Dodge campus, including a upgrades to the science building, applied science and technology building, the new biofuel testing center, improvements and remodeling for the Decker Auditorium.

The biggest part of the proposed bond issue is $6 million for the planned Greehey Family Student Success Center on the Fort Dodge campus. It would house enrollment, financial aid, academic advising, counseling and career planning services in one place. Bill Greehey, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate who was the chief executive officer of Valero Energy Corp., donated $3 million for the center last June.

Kinney said actual cost in terms of property taxes for Hamilton County residents would be nominal.

“With a home assessed at $100,000, the actual cost would be $1 per month or $12 per year,” he said. “For a $200,000 home, the cost would be $2 per month.”

Kinney said with the building upgrades and additions, the college would be able to better address the needs of students and to its program offerings to make sure students are ready for the workforce.

“We’ve got great communities and we’ve got great organizations coming to our communities,” said Kinney. “But we’ve got to have a workforce for them. Our focus is how do we keep our young people here to fill these great paying jobs.”

“We’ll continue to work with our high schools to expose kids to those opportunities,” he said. “We’ll make sure we offer the programs and courses they need to be successful.”

The bond issue must be approved by 60 percent of those voting in Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright counties.