BENTONVILLE — Plans are moving forward for NorthWest Arkansas Community College to construct a Washington County Instructional Center and for the National Child Protection Training Center’s Southern Region Training Center, the NWACC Board of Trustees learned Saturday morning.
The board also discussed recent dealings with the Internal Revenue Service regarding several late payroll tax payments.
The board met Saturday for a retreat, which is an unofficial meeting where plans are discussed and direction can be given, but no binding votes are taken. The board also held a special board meeting where the board approved nine voter zones that will be used to comprise the NWACC Board in the November election.
The majority of the retreat was spent discussing the college’s progress so far and the vision for the future. A big part of that future is developing a permanent presence in Washington County. Up until now, the college had rented space in the county to serve its students in that area. About 40% of the college’s more than 8,500 students have a Washington County address and the number of students coming from Siloam Springs is also increasing. Although in Benton County, Siloam Springs is closer to the Washington County locations than the Bentonville campus.
In May, the college entered into talks with landowner Philip Taldo to build on land west of Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. A memorandum of understanding between Taldo and the college is in the works, according to Dr. Steven Gates, senior vice president for learning and provost.
The college is also working with its on-call architect Crafton-Tull to develop the initial stages of site and facility design and description. This process also involves internal meetings with NWACC staff to further define programming and other needs. Drawings are expected to take about 120 days.
According to Gates’ presentation, the procurement process for bidding out to potential developers would begin once the design plans are complete.
The National Child Protection Training Center is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to renovate the former Highlands Oncology building, which the NWACC Foundation purchased in 2008. The Foundation retains ownership of the building, which is adjacent to the NWACC campus in Bentonville.
The building will be used as the first regional training site for the NCPTC. Fundraising efforts for the $3.25 million project are well under way with $735,714 promised so far, said Amy Benincosa, NCPTC Development Coordinator.
“It’s not just a building, it’s a tool,” she said.
Gates told the board that the NCPTC Board is also busy with making plans for the new center, including how to build a sustainable organization including financing, administration and marketing plans.
Meetings with various stakeholders within the college community have given the Presidential Search Committee a clearer picture of what is considered the necessary traits in NWACC’s third president.
Dr. Becky Paneitz plans to retire in 2013 after 10 years as NWACC President. The college has entered into an agreement with the Association of Community College Trustees for consultant services as a national search for a new president commences. The search committee membership, headed by Board Member Randy Lawson, was recently formed and includes stakeholders from various parts of the college.
The search committee members appointed by chairman Alex Vasquez was released last week by the college. Those invited to participate represent significant areas of the college. The list includes:
Randy Lawson, board trustee – Presidential Search Committee Chair
Dr. Bryan Aguiar, faculty senate president
Natasha Washington, faculty member
Lenora Sotlar, staff council chair
Jesse Pierce, student government president
Dr. Todd Kitchen, academic administrator
Paige Francis, non-academic administrator
Dennis Smiley, foundation board president
Dan Shewmaker, Bentonville
Dick Trammel, Rogers
Mike Malone, Washington County
Denise Garner, president’s circle
Diana Johnson, high school relations
Ben Aldama, adult education
to be confirmed, student ambassador
to be confirmed, students in free enterprise
“Because NWACC’s core mission plays a vital role in so many aspects of our region, we felt the committee assisting in the search should reflect key stakeholders,” Vasquez said. “I want to thank each of these representatives for their willingness to serve and their commitment to the future of NorthWest Arkansas Community College. I’m confident that we have assembled a strong committee that will provide valuable support and insight to the board as we search for our next college president.”
In other college news, the board members heard updates from various college initiatives including issues such as strategic enrollment, institutional research, strategic planning and diversity.