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IVCC plans 7,500 square-foot ag storage facility

Plans agronomy lab in 2nd phase

A sketch of Illinois Valley Community College’s proposed agriculture storage facility was presented by architect Dominick Demonica at Thursday’s facilities meeting.
A sketch of Illinois Valley Community College’s proposed agriculture storage facility was presented by architect Dominick Demonica at Thursday’s facilities meeting.

Prior to the monthly meeting of the Illinois Valley Community College board, the board’s facilities committee reviewed details for a proposed agriculture storage facility to be built on the site of the recently demolished dairy barn.

The 7,500-square-foot building would house a tractor, field cultivator and planter for use by IVCC ag students and instructors. In a second phase of the master plan project, the college hopes to add a lab for the agronomy program.

IVCC has secured nearly $165,000 in deferred maintenance funding from the state for the project — requiring a $60,210 match from the college — and will seek additional state dollars if there is a capital bill.

“Our political sources suggest it is wise to have a project on the list for the new legislative session,” said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran.

The college anticipates a CASE IH tractor, cultivator and planter will be made available to the ag program this year by CNH Industrial, an accommodation facilitated by CNH’s Kyle Dooley.

“The precision farming equipment and agronomy lab would catapult our program forward as we seek to serve more than 1,300 district high school ag students,” Corcoran said.

Images of the proposed facility were shown by IVCC and Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) architect Dominick Demonica, of Chicago, in his master plan update.

In early December, the college spent about $50,000 of its required match to have the barn taken down and removed.

In other business, the facilities committee recommended replacement of damaged drainage tiles in campus farm fields. Ponding in several areas has made farming challenging, Corcoran said.

In the meeting of the entire board, trustees approved tuition waivers for recent high school graduates enrolled in IVCC automotive and agriculture programs.

To qualify for the six-credit-hour waiver, students must enroll full-time in either the Agriculture Business Management or Agronomy Associate in Applied Science degree or the Automotive Technology AAS degree or Advanced Automotive Technology certificate within one year of high school graduation. IVCC is partnering with Starved Rock Associates for Vocational and Technical Education on the initiative.

In other business, the board approved:

• A 16-page “enrollment driver” magazine to be distributed to more than 30,000 district residents in late March prior to the start of fall and summer registration. Indiana Printing and Publishing of Indiana, Penn., submitted the low bid of $13,853.

• A pair of business after-hours hosted by Illinois Valley Labor Management at IVCC and the Ottawa Center. The 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, event on the main campus is in conjunction with the annual Career Expo at IVCC on Friday, March 8. The 5 to 7 p.m. Ottawa Center after-hours will be either Tuesday, March 12, or Wednesday, March 13. Both events are co-sponsored by local chambers and will include alcohol.

The board also learned:

• Jaime Avila has been hired as off-shift custodian starting Jan. 14.

• In his monthly report, Corcoran said enrollments continue to struggle as staff work to close the gap between budgeted and actual credit hours. “New EMS instructor Nicholas Fish is optimistic about the potential for his program, new student recruitment specialist Gracelyn Quesse is on board and our new cybersecurity program shows great promise for fall semester enrollments,” Corcoran said, noting a medical assistant program will also launch in August. “We’re optimistic our new programs will be well received by the community.”

• American Federation of Teachers Local 1810 President Tracy Lee briefly addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting regarding an issue the union raised at the Oct. 11 meeting. Lee left information for the board to review and requested a formal written response.

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