CCCC receives $948,000 in grant funds

 Seven years after receiving a $984,000 grant from the Department of Energy, the Cloud County Community College board of trustees learned Tuesday night that money is finally in the bank.
 The grant was used in 2008 to purchase two wind turbines that sit on the hill south of the college. The turbines were commissioned in April 2010, and in 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration placed a determination of hazard on them because they were 30 feet too tall.
 In August 2012, the board approved lowering the turbines, because the Department of Energy would not release the grant funds until that happened.
 Even after the turbines were lowered in early 2013, College President Danette Toone said it was still a difficult process to get the grant funds released.
 In making the announcement at Tuesday night’s board meeting, Toone said she has had a number of opportunities for professional growth since joining the Cloud team in 2010.
 “I remember my first week on the job and my introduction to the Cloud wind farm. I think I got a lawsuit filed on me my first week,” she said with a laugh. “For the past five years, I’ve been further introduced to the FAA, the Department of Energy, and enjoyed many, many, many, many visits with members of Sen. Moran’s office, Sen. Roberts’ office, and Gov. Brownback’s office.
 In making the announcement, Toone gave each board member a sealed envelope while the vice presidents unveiled a $984,000 check from the Department of Energy.
 “The money is in our bank account as of last Thursday,” Toone said, explaining the envelopes contained a copy of the wire transfer to the college’s bank account.
 Toone’s announcement was met with cheers and applause.
 “I truly hope this was a great ending,” she said. “I know that I probably scared a few people, but I am just thrilled. It’s been difficult to keep this quiet, but hopefully, it was well worth it.”
 In action items, the board approved a $158,528 bid from Beckett Brothers for the replacement of the floor in Arley Bryant Gymnasium.
 The floor replacement is part of a $450,000 gym renovation project. In August 2014, the board approved spending $250,000 to match a $200,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.
 Vice President for Administrative Services Amy Lange said the new wood floor will feature Cloud’s mascot, Thor, at half court, superimposed on a two-toned floor. The word “Thunderbirds” will be in block letters at both ends of the court.
 Work will commence after graduation in May, when the bleachers and current floor will be removed in one week. Beckett Brothers will then have until July 10 to finish the floor. On July 20, Lange said, three semi loads of bleachers will arrive and be installed by the time school starts in August.
 Lange also presented the board with the college’s five-year capital improvement plan.
The facilities planning committee has been meeting over the past year, she said, and developed a comprehensive list of 55 items at the Concordia and Geary County campuses.
Items on the list included a campus-wide emergency communications system for both Concordia and Geary County; the renovation of Arley Bryant Gymnasium, which is already in progress; a universal key system; additional parking at Thunder Heights; and renovations to the dorms in the T-Bird village.
 Lange said the 55 items total about $12 million over the next five years. She asked that the board review the list and formally endorse it at the April meeting. The document will then be used as a guide for facility improvements during the coming years.
 During the consent agenda portion of the meeting, the board approved the retirement of Chet Anson, wind energy instructor and renewing the contracts of Chad Eshbaugh and Lance Carter, men’s basketball coaches, and Carolyn Blair Mobley, the assistant women’s basketball coach.
 Emeritus status was also bestowed on Karl de Rochefort-Reynolds, Debra Monzon and Susan Sutton. The honor is given to faculty and administrators who have given 20 or more years of service to the college.
 No action was taken after an hour and five minutes of executive sessions for negotiations, consultation with legal counsel and non-elected personnel.

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