Southeastern Community College administrators unveiled plans for Keokuk campus expansion at a public forum Wednesday evening.
Janet Fife-LaFrenz, who represents Keokuk on the SCC Board of Trustees, said Thursday afternoon that the improvements will be funded by a voter-approved bond issue of up to $15 million. The board will sell $7 million in bonds on Feb. 18 and will be limited by the federal government to spend that amount within three years.
“People are pleased to know that we’re going to be able to maintain our community college and provide for the needs of our area,” she said, adding that the Keokuk campus also is vital to residents of Western Illinois and Northeast Missouri.
Property taxes will not be affected, according to Fife-LaFrenz. The funding also will provide improvements on the West Burlington campus.
She said the first priority during Keokuk’s expansion is the construction of a new industrial technology and manufacturing skills building, possibly attached to the office wing and extending into part of the current parking lot.
“The location of the tech/manufacturing skills programs is overcrowded,” Fife-LaFrenz said. “We have to get it to another location to operate to capacity.”
Some of the equipment secured by the college, including a robot, remains in storage due to lack of space.
The area that presently houses tech and manufacturing will allow the nursing department to spread out and be closer to the science labs, Fife-LaFrenz said.
According to information provided by SCC President Dr. Michael Ash and Invision Architecture of Waterloo, the conceptualized design for Keokuk also includes relocating the bookstore, expanding the cafeteria into a dining hall, improving the kitchen, and giving the college a “facelift” with new landscaping and other cosmetic enhancements.
Input was provided by faculty, administrators, local business and various community members during conceptualization. Fife-LaFrenz said SCC will continue to seek feedback from students and other stakeholders as the plans come to life.
Sherry Zeller, secretary to Ash and the board, said another public forum is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, in Room 302 at the Keokuk campus at 302 Messenger Road.
Ash was in Des Moines for a meeting late Thursday and was unavailable for comment this morning.
For more information about the facility update master plan, contact Zeller at 319-208-5050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.