Candidate survey: Carol Merrell

Carol Merrell.

Tell our readers who you are and why you’re qualified for this elected position.

My name is Carol Merrell and I am a graduate of LCCC and UW.
I feel that I am qualified to serve as a trustee of the LCCC Board as I have been serving as a trustee for the past 9 years.
I am experienced, knowledgeable and passionate about LCCC.
I am also a representative to the LCCC Foundation as a board member.

 

What influenced you to run for the LCCC Board of Trustees?

I am running for the Board of Trustees position again because I feel as though I’ve made a difference and friends have encouraged me to run  for another four-year term. LCCC has become a part of my daily life.
I have enjoyed getting to know the students and those who work at the school.

 

What can the college do to better help students complete their degrees and credit diplomas in 2 years or less?

The college is already helping students complete degrees and credit diplomas in two years or less.  One of the ways is the Guided Pathways 2.0 program which helps the student clarify their path, get on their path, stay on their path and learn their way to graduation. So even though LCCC has fewer students enrolling we have had larger numbers graduating.

 

If LCCC’s bond issue fails this year, where do think the college should get the money for Fine Arts renovations and the Performing Arts center?

If the bond issue fails  it will be a sad day for LCCC.  Our college is the only community college in the state without a performing arts auditorium.  It would put LCCC at a disadvantage for recruiting students and will leave a void in the community for the need of a smaller auditorium space.  Currently LCCC has to rent other spaces in the community for productions and musical events.
Secondly, but very important, is that our Fine Arts building is failing. This structure is used not only for music and art classes but also for general studies. Three thousand students take classes in this building but those are unduplicated numbers, meaning that many more students use this building.
This entire project—the two structures—will cost $14 million.  The state has already pledged $7 million, and the Foundation has raised $1 million.
So the project will cost the people of Cheyenne and Laramie County $6 million over four years.  We won’t get a better deal that this one and we’ll lose the $7 million if the bond election fails.

 

Another LCCC facility that is in need of repair is the Recreation and Athletics Center. How can the college raise the money to pay for renovations to this building?

With so many building projects being completed on campus, from many different funding sources, I can’t help but think that a solution will be found to renovate the RAC. Most likely it won’t be from a single source. Perhaps capital construction monies and student fees can be used.
We have great teams at LCCC who use this space, and it is also open to the public.  Our students deserve a better recreational space and we are working on a solution.

 

Enrollment trends show a steady decrease since the 2011-12 school year. What can the college do to reverse this trend and improve enrollment?

The economy is stable right now, so fewer students are enrolling in school.  Even so, our graduation numbers are increasing, which means that LCCC is doing a good job of taking care of its students. When we build our new Residence Hall (dorm), we will have 352 more beds and that will bring more students to LCCC.
LCCC is working on a Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) planning model, as well, which will identify enrollment goals. This plan will identify recruitment, retention and the ultimate path of the success of LCCC students. Students are our business and it is our business to take care of them and help them succeed.

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