Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is progressing with the second phase of its work to modernize its health sciences building.
During a Jan. 18 area commission meeting, OCtech’s vice president of finance Kim Huff reported that the college had not spent much from its capital project fund on the Building K renovation project other than $26,000.
“I filed the paperwork for what is called the Phase 2 approval with the state. It has to go to the CHE (SC Commission on Higher Education) and after that it goes to the Joint Bond Review Committee. The CHE will meet next month in February and after that meeting it will be handed over to the JBRC for approval. Once we get that approval, we can go back and sign a contract with the architect to continue work on Phase Two,” Huff said.
Phase 2 of the Building K renovation project includes mechanical and electrical upgrades, including HVAC replacement, at the Health Sciences Building. Repurposed space will also create the opportunity for amenities like study rooms. Building K was constructed in 1987.
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The zoning commission, during a November 9 meeting, approved proceeding with the Phase 2 renovation of Building K at an estimated cost of no more than $4.2 million.
The money will come from $2 million the college has committed in its capital project fund, along with half of the $4 million the college will receive from the state for deferred maintenance.
Phase 2 of the Building K renovation project includes mechanical and electrical upgrades, including HVAC replacement, at the Health Sciences Building. Repurposed space will also create the opportunity for amenities like study rooms.
Building K was constructed in 1987.
The college is also in the process of moving its machine tool program to the T building.
“We are now working with the architect. At our next meeting we hope to provide an estimate of the cost of the renovations to Building T, which will primarily involve the electrical, the equipment that will be purchased and placed there,” said Huf.
“This is money paid from government funds. dr (Walt) Tobin was able to get our local delegation to give us $2 million for this project last year. Most of that is used to buy equipment, but then some of that is also used for these renovations in Building T,” he said.
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Also during the meeting, the area commission approved the use of $75,000 from the college’s plant fund for a new off-campus digital signage. Cooperation with an architect is in progress.
“The one we have is showing its age and doesn’t even work properly. So we even turned it off. He’s looking pretty bad on the road and we want to get him replaced,” Huff said.
He also provided a December financial report. The college reported revenue of $14,951,015 million and expenses of $10,074,685 at the end of December.
“FTE numbers seem to be declining and I think we’ll be tight on our tuition fees again for the spring semester. Right now it’s a little over 10% of what we originally budgeted for. We have to take that into account,” said Huf.
He said the college has federal funds to help offset the impact of reduced tuition.
“We don’t know if we’ll have it past this year or not. There’s a time coming up next month when we could ask for a free extension to carry over some of these funds into next year if we want to. At the moment, our study income seems to be below what we had budgeted. Now we also have some savings on the expenses side to offset that,” Huff said.
He reported that the college’s continuing education department is improving financially.
“I would like to point out that they are still reporting a profit in excess of 50% for the year; $200,000 in revenue versus $178,000 in expenses,” Huff said.
Williette Berry, OCtech’s vice president of academic affairs, reported that the college has filled a temporary fellowship position for an SC Pride project manager and a position for an EMT instructor and program coordinator.
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“We have one Nursing Instructor position that is already advertised, but we haven’t started interviewing there yet. Then we have five temporary fellowship positions that we are already open to: a bio/biomedical instructor, an early childhood education instructor, an early college advisor…an early college dean, and then we have an interventionist.
She continued, “We also have another temporary fellowship position that is for a CNA/phlebotomy instructor, but this position will not be advertised until March 2022.”
Berry said the college is considering starting an HVAC certification program.
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“It will consist of 33 credit hours and the notification letter goes to SACS this week. Hopefully we’ll hear positively from them,” she said.
Berry also reported that the college’s spring assembly is scheduled for Friday, February 11.”
dr Sandra Davis, OCtech’s vice president for student services, reported that spring semester classes began Jan. 10, with the college continuing to enroll students in mini-session courses, along with other courses scheduled to begin in March.
She said the position of assistant director for enrollment is still open.
“We have already begun the interview process for this particular position,” Davis said.
She also reported that electronic delivery of student refund funds is going well.
“We have partnered with BankMobile as the provider for these EFTs (electronic funds transfers) for students. Last week we received notification from BankMobile that we were recognized as an ACE award recipient by them. We had a very successful start in the fall semester, resulting in 97% of our payouts being sent to students electronically,” Davis said.
She continued, “This was a big shift for us, from printing and mailing checks to sending those funds to students electronically, which ultimately meant they had access to those funds much sooner than they needed to , if necessary, print and postal checks.
“There were many helping hands that helped make this project such a success… and we were just really happy that it went so well considering this is a big project for us here on our campus was.”
Davis said, “These refunds are typically credits due, meaning they have more financial aid than is needed to cover their tuition and fees. So if they don’t use them in the bookstores, then ‘get those credits refunded.”
She submitted several policies for commissioners to review, but only one had a revision: requests for transcripts would be processed from the moment the college received the students’ completed transcript and full payment of all applicable fees.
“It used to be in 10 days, and now we’re saying we can deliver these in seven days,” Davis said.
Contact the author: [email protected] or 803-533-5534. Follow Good News with Gleaton on Twitter at @DionneTandD