MCC Board Meeting Report: Jan. 21, 2009

Strategies and buildings to accommodate current and future growth dominated the discussion at the Manatee Community College (MCC) District Board of Trustees' first meeting in 2009.

The Jan. 21 meeting at MCC Bradenton also signaled the trustees' first "all green" assembly with board members and MCC administrators navigating through the agenda on laptop computers without benefit of printed board packets.

Noting the college's sustained enrollment growth, the board approved sending a request to the state to expand the MCC Bradenton Library renovation project. The addition would add 34,090 sq. ft. to the existing 45,767 sq. ft. space and increase the total budget from the current $7 million to an estimated $18 million. 

MCC President Dr. Lars A. Hafner said a larger, reoriented library would provide an opportunity to create another "front door" to the campus, accommodate bigger study areas and more computer use by MCC students, and allow the college to pursue a joint-use facility with the county.

"In tough economic times, public funds for libraries and parks are the first things to be cut, so it makes sense now more than ever to explore partnerships," Hafner said.

Expansion at MCC Lakewood Ranch was a topic of Hafner's announcements to the board. The president reminded trustees about the 8 a.m. Feb. 3 groundbreaking ceremony of the 40,000 sq. ft. Medical Technology and Simulation Center at the college's 10-acre site in Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park.

In other announcements, Hafner announced that collegewide enrollment is up by 9 percent this spring for an all-time high at MCC of close to 11,000 students.

"This enrollment trend not only is an indication of people returning to college because of the economy, but it also reflects the great job our faculty and staff are doing on retention," Hafner said, noting that productivity is at 93 percent this semester.

Board members heard a recap of activity that took place during and after the winter break to advance the college's proposal to offer a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Hafner was notified in late December that the state would consider MCC's proposal in March. (More information about the BSN proposal is available at

Spanish-language Web pages that will link from the MCC home page are being created by a team of MCC student development and public affairs staff members, Hafner said. The first phase of the Spanish-language Web pages project will be completed soon.

"We are excited about this because it demonstrates MCC's commitment to diversity and outreach to the Hispanic community," Hafner said.

Other approved agenda items included a revised code of ethical behavior to include civility as a standard and other wording changes; the Curriculum Development and Review Committee's request to establish, revise and delete selected courses and programs; and a proposal to enter into a two-year contract with a new security services firm, AlliedBarton, to augment public safety and security full-time staff and reduce costs by about $30,000.

The board also approved a summer compressed work day schedule that provides MCC employees with a four (4)-day work week for a period of 10 weeks this summer beginning Monday, May 18 through Friday, July 24. The schedule will continue to provide students with later access into the evening on four days as well as allow energy savings for the College and personnel. The compressed work week will be evaluated for cost savings, efficiencies and effectiveness to determine future implementation.

Trustees were reminded that the February meeting will be at MCC Lakewood Ranch.

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