Trustees rename two areas in new library

The Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees unanimously voted for the naming of two areas in the newly renovated Ludden Library.

In 2017, Platte Valley Bank gifted the LCCC Foundation a monetary donation to help support the renovation and expansion of the library. The intent was to assist the Foundation in its efforts to raise $2.5 million to match state support to fund the project.

To honor their support, the board has agreed to name the patio, located on the west side of the exterior of the new library, the Platte Valley Bank Patio.

Additionally, Dale and Paula Strickland recently made a gift to the Foundation to help support funding for the library staff to purchase furniture and equipment to insure that the family study room in the Library is both adult and children friendly.

The family study room in the library will now be named the Strickland Family Study Room.

Vice President of Administration and Finance Rick Johnson said the renovation portion of Fine Arts will hopefully begin in mid-May after the 2019 commencement, and the renovation work is planned to last until June 2020. The auditorium is expected to begin construction in July 2019 and be completed in December 2020.

Because the college is planning to begin construction before mill-levy revenue that was approved by voters in November starts officially flowing in, Johnson said the college needs to come up with a financial solution to assure construction stays on pace until revenues are received.

“We’re getting our mill-levy revenues, but they don’t start rolling in until September of 2019,” Johnson said.

“We want to put an RFP (Request for Proposal) on the street, and put it out to everybody; credit unions, banks, you name it, and lay out our picture and seek out some creative financing solutions,” Johnson said. “There’s great flows later and cost early, and someone who might be interested in this opportunity has a pretty good guarantee of return.”

Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement Lisa Trimble also gave an overview of the advertising results promoting information about the mill levy prior to the election.

“We definitely outperformed our own expectations for some of that,” Trimble said. “Our most prominent market, both through our Google ads that we ran as well as our social media campaign, was that 25-34 demographic.”

Trimble said there were over 1 million display ad impressions with an overall click rate of 0.31 percent. Additionally, there were slightly more impressions and clicks in the female demographic than male demographic.

Additionally, Johnson said that, as of Nov. 7, the new Library renovation had met challenges following fire code that needed to take priority, delaying the project around two weeks.

In September, President Dr. Joe Schaffer worked with the other community college presidents of Wyoming to draft a letter to Gov. Matt Mead addressing concerns about employee turnovers as a result of compensation rates.

This letter was drafted in hopes that those concerns would be reflected in the upcoming supplemental budget developed by Mead.

“One of the pieces where we are watching is the supplemental budget request to adjust for the number of employees at the community colleges to ensure we have adequate health insurance reimbursement,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer said the community colleges sent a formal request to Mead requesting a Cost of Living Adjustment  to be incorporated within his supplemental budget for community college employees.

“To put it into perspective, 41 percent of employee turnover last year at LCCC was a result of compensation issues…” Schaffer said. “Both the market pressures we’re trying to address, but the folks that are becoming competitive, and we’re not moving the scales with inflationary pressures, and that’s why I think the Cost of Living Adjustment is going to be essential.”

Trustee Jess Ketcham proposed a new policy to the board for discussion regarding a residency requirement for LCCC employees.

Ketcham wanted to develop a policy requiring LCCC employees at a director position or higher to live in Laramie or Albany counties to work at the college.

“The basis for my reasoning is, I feel that they need input in the community, and should be able to vote on certain things,” Ketcham said.

Ketcham also explained that no one currently employed by the college at this time or at the time of potential implementation would lose their jobs, as this would only affect employees moving forward.

Trustee Don Erickson questioned Ketcham about the motivation of this proposal.

“Like I said, community involvement,” Ketcham said. “Also, we’re losing so many of our students; so many of our people who we’re educating are moving elsewhere (outside of Wyoming.)”

The board plans to set a date to discuss the policy further, as well as the legality of it, sometime in early 2019 before any implementation takes place.

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