The Wilkes Community College Board of Trustees met virtually on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

The business session began with the approval of the minutes from the January 2020 Board of Trustees meeting.

Buildings and Grounds Committee

As part of the college’s effort to maximize space utilization and efficiency, the Academic Support Center, currently located in Thompson Hall, will be relocated to the Pardue Library in Alumni Hall. This includes a computer lab, tutoring, and a testing center. The planned project also includes group study rooms, a new rare book/conference room to house the book collection recently donated by Dr. Tom Bowman, new shelving and furniture, and re-carpeting of the main area of the library. Funding for the project is being provided by the WCC Foundation, partially in part through a donation from Dr. Bowman.

The board approved the Pardue Library Renovation Project and gave the building and grounds committee authority to approve the construction contracts.

Alleghany Welding Lab Project Update

Construction bids for the Alleghany welding lab were opened on March 3. The building and grounds committee approved awarding the contract to the low bidder, Garanco Construction, in the amount of $357,960. Site work is currently scheduled to begin in early May, with building completion in August.

Herring Hall Radiography Suite Construction Update

The construction of the new radiography suite at Herring Hall was completed in mid-March. The new space includes a classroom and two X-ray labs with “live” X-ray machines. The labs were constructed with lead-lined walls and include all required safety features.

 Ashe Capital Project Update

The Ashe capital project is progressing well, with completion scheduled for spring 2021.

Finance Committee

The board approved the 2020-2021 local budget requests for Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany counties. The trustees approved the 2020-2021 student fees and fines, which included a $10 increase in material fees for the Career and College Promise courses.

Program and Planning Committee

The trustees approved the 2020-2021 college calendar. Required professional development days have been scheduled following Labor Day and following Martin Luther King Day. The college will be closed on December 24, 2020 – January 1, 2021. Having been directed by the state to allow only twelve paid holidays, Easter Monday will not be a holiday. Graduation and the last day of nine-month faculty contracts will be May 13, 2021.

Personnel Committee

The board gave authority to the Personnel Committee to approve salaries and other personnel matters for the 2020-2021 year. The committee will approve changes and other personnel matters once the State Board of Community Colleges issues sufficient salary and benefit information for 2020-2021.

The board approved revisions to Policy 2.10.10 Communicable Diseases and Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens. The updates to the policy include section IB that allows the college to require immunizations for students and employees (subject to certain restrictions) and section IC that allows additional actions during a public health incident including:

  • Closing of college buildings and/or programs
  • Limiting employee travel
  • Prohibiting infected individuals from coming on campus
  • Encouraging immunizations

The board approved the new Policy 3.2.19 Employee Work and State of Emergency Leave. This policy (and related procedure provides additional paid leave benefits to employees. The policy also allows the college president to grant additional special emergency leave under the guidance and recommendation of the North Carolina Community College System Office and the approval of the Chairperson and/or Vice-Chairperson of the Wilkes Community College Board of Trustees.

The Personnel Committee reported the following new hires. Brittany Wood was hired as an administrative assistant for the Alleghany Campus effective February 3, 2020. Taryne Seatz was hired as an administrative assistant for the Ashe Campus effective March 23, 2020. Abigail Pardue was hired as a career coach, effective March 25, 2020. James Crews has accepted the position of Custodian, effective April 1, 2020.

The following personnel have assumed new roles. Chris Bare, Chair of Workforce Development, has assumed the position of Maintenance Supervisor for the Ashe Campus, effective February 1, 2020. Curt Miller, Director of Skilled Trades and Business Services, has assumed the position of Chair of Workforce Development effective March 1, 2020.

Retirements announced since the last board meeting are Blair Hancock, VP of Instruction, effective: July 1, 2020

Resignations announced since the last board meeting are Phillip Wogatzke, career coach, effective February 14, 2020, and Angela McCrory, administrative assistance, Ashe Campus, effective February 28, 2020.

Chairperson’s Report

Trustee Appointments/Reappointments

Terry Bumgarner, chair of the WCC Board of Trustees, shared with the board that the terms of the following trustees will expire on June 30, 2020; Connie Cox, appointed by the Governor; Gerald Lankford, appointed by Wilkes County Commissioners; Katrina Miller, appointed by Ashe County Commissioners; and Kim Walker, appointed by the Wilkes County Board of Education.

Mr. Bumgarner appointed the personnel committee to serve as the nominating committee to recommend a new slate of officers for 2020-2021 for the board’s consideration at its next meeting.

College President’s Report

The 2020 recipient of the Academic Excellence Award is Elva (Ellie) Jacqulyn Swibold, whose goal when she first began at Wilkes Community College, was to complete her high school equivalency. Ellie says during that time she “met some of the most influential people in [her] life and made leaps of progress.” In the fall of 2018, Ellie enrolled in Wilkes Community College curriculum courses, and she will graduate with her Associate in Science in May 2020. She has been accepted at Lees McRae College in the fall. She hopes to go on to earn a master’s degree and eventually a doctorate in ornithology.

The 2020 Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee is Mary Hannewald. Mary began her life-changing journey with Wilkes Community College in 2017. After three semesters, Mary decided to apply to the Radiography program and was accepted in 2019. She also became a member of the WCC Global Perspectives Scholars program and traveled to Panama to work alongside Doctors Without Borders. Hannewald will graduate with her Associate in Applied Science in Radiography, with Global Distinction Honors, in May 2020.

Keith Wayne Haynes is the 2020 nominee for the Governor Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award. Haynes is involved in many campus events and club activities on campus and is a leader in the community. As the President of the Auto Body Club and a representative to the Student Government Association (SGA) from 2018-2020, Keith has used his leadership to help other students succeed in the classroom, within the club, and in the community. He positively motivates his club members to participate in club events and student activities such as SkillsUSA, Fall Festival and Merlefest. He is a friendly face on campus who serves as a role model for fellow students and enjoys serving and helping others. In the community, Haynes serves as a deacon in his church and has been a member of the

Mulberry-Fairplains Fire-Rescue Department since 1987. Even though his college and community activities keep him busy, he loves spending time with his family as well.

Dr. Cox provided a brief update on the tremendous progress that has been made during the 2019-2020 academic year. WCC’s Strategic Plan is available for view on the website or at the following link:

Dr. Cox gave an update on the status and impact that COVID-19 has had on Wilkes Community College.

Closed Session

During a closed session, the WCC Board of Trustees discussed its evaluation of Dr. Jeff Cox and his contract going forward.

Regular Session

During the regular session, Mr. Gerald Lankford, chair of the personnel committee, congratulated Dr. Cox on another great year and his successful six-year tenure as president of the college. The board voted unanimously to extend Dr. Cox’s contract for another four-year term.

The WCC Board of Trustees will meet again on May 15, 2020.