Ways to spend nearly $1 million in federal pandemic relief will be considered by the West Shore Community College Board of Trustees at its regular meeting at 4 p.m. Monday in the campus’ John M. Eaton Board Room.
Proposed expenses include student debt relief totaling $30,000; a video streaming studio; new robots and an online robotics portal; a classroom outfitted for virtual learning; and improvements to the college’s website.
The college would absorb $545,000 to supplement revenue lost due to the pandemic and the costs of administering the funds.
The student debt write-off pertains only to what is owed to WSCC and is not student loan debt, according to WSCC President Scott Ward. He wrote that outstanding balances are a barrier to students registering for class.
According to Ward, the $180,000 video streaming studio would improve the experience for online audiences. Faculty could use it to enhance their online teaching and educate students on streaming.
The robotics money would be used to purchase robots similar to those used in local industries and an “online robotics training portal that could be used in a virtual environment,” Ward wrote.
Funds totaling $20,000 would go toward updating the website’s registration process, as well as access to online class materials and graduation information. Another $40,000 would be spent on orientation videos for new students.
In 2020, the college was allocated more than $2.2 million through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act. The board approved other uses of those funds last year, and if these expenses are approved, $390,906 will remain.
SCHOENHERR CAMPUS CENTER REMODEL
Also on the board’s agenda is a proposed remodel of the upper level of the Schoenherr Campus Center.
The Student Senate would get a permanent office out of the remodel. Ward wrote that the plan includes upgrades the Student Senate has advocated for, such as a student activity center; more areas for quiet study and small group meetings; and places to charge phones and laptops.
The remodel would introduce a “learning commons” to combine all tutoring services. The testing center would be expanded with six single-person testing rooms.
A new unisex bathroom is proposed, but the feasibility of it is still being worked out, Ward wrote.
Much of this can be accomplished by rearranging moveable walls, Ward wrote. The cost is anticipated to be between $100,000 and $125,000, and is expected to be done during summer 2022.