The Wilkes Community College Board of Trustees met on Thursday, August 8, at the WCC Ashe Campus in West Jefferson.

Cynthia Alford, executive assistant to the president and board liaison, administered the oath of office to the following trustees: Pamela Scott, newly appointed; Susan Murphy, reappointed; Dr. William Davis, reappointed; and Larry Stone; reappointed.

The business session began with the approval of the minutes from the May 2019 Board of Trustees meeting.

Buildings and Grounds Committee

Trustees voted to give authority to the building and grounds committee to select a designer for the open-end design agreement. WCC has several upcoming small projects that will require design services.

The building and grounds committee was given authority by the full board to approve a guaranteed maximum price for construction for the Ashe Campus project.

The Culinary Center project is now complete and ready for the arrival of the students on August 15.

State construction has given final approval of the early site work portion of the Ashe Campus project, which includes site development, foundations, concrete and structural steel. State Construction established July 23 as the project start date, with completion scheduled for March 4, 2021. Vannoy Construction will begin mobilizing for early site work the week of August 12.

Finance Committee

The board gave authority to the finance committee to approve the 2019-2020 state budget allocation and other budget-related items that require action prior to the board’s October meeting, reporting the same at the October meeting.

The board approved appropriations for the 2019-2020 fiscal year:

County of Wilkes: regular appropriation of $3,447,958, capital outlay appropriation of $150,000, salary supplement (3%) of $366,000, and bond matching (3 of 5) of $202,000.

County of Ashe: regular appropriation of $428,878, capital outlay appropriation of $15,000, non-recurring supplement-Early College High School renovation of $2,500, and salary supplement (3%) of $17,282.

County of Alleghany: regular appropriation of $184,657 and salary supplement (3%) of $10,965.

The 2019/20 academic year schedule of student fees approved at the April meeting was revised with the following; a fee of $15.00 per year to freshmen sophomore students at the Ashe Early College High School to allow those students to participate in WCC student activities. The board approved the revised fee schedule.

As part of WCC’s “5-Year Strategic Plan”, a goal was established to review all endowed scholarships and determine the best plan to maximize scholarship dollars. It was determined that there were a number of endowed funds with a principal balance below $10,000 and have been in existence for more than ten years. Due to the number and asset size of the endowed funds, WCC finds it impractical to continue to maintain them in their current state. Pursuant to Chapter 36E of the North Carolina General Statutes (Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act), Wilkes Community College combined the endowed funds into a general scholarship endowment to be called the WCC Founders Scholarship. Wilkes Community College will continue to honor the generosity of the donors by listing their names as donors to the scholarship on the website.

Personnel Committee

The trustees were presented biographical narratives on new employees who began work since the board last met. They are Denise Crews, custodian; Matt York, Network Security Administrator; Nicole Fogle, Executive Director of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness; Morgan Barnette, Coordinator of Recruiting; Elizabeth Simons, Instructor, BPST programs and ACA 115; Irene Bunker, Library Assistant; and Ed Price, Director of EMS.

Employees assuming new roles at WCC are Darrell Finney, Dean of Arts and Sciences Division; Cinnamon Martin, Dean of Advising; Kim Perkins, Student Advisor/ACA instructor; Donna Brooks, Student Advisor/ACA instructor; Sheneele Wagoner, Student Advisor/ACA instructor; Becky Kennedy, Student Advisor/ACA instructor.

Other personnel changes include the retirement of Benita Hampton, Director of Employability Program at the Alleghany Center and Dr. David Ritter, Economics and Business Information Systems, lead instructor. And resignations of Jeff Foster, Director of Innovative Programming and Business Training; Billy Eller, Lead Instructor, Diesel and Heavy Equipment; Curtis Owens, Facilities Maintenance Technician; and Thomas Schlitt, Director of SAGE. And sadly, the passing of Vickie Cothren, who has served as a WCC Library Technician for over 30 years.

Chairperson’s Report

For the 2019-2020 year, the board of trustees named Terry Bumgarner to serve as chairperson; Larry Stone, vice-chairperson; and Gerald Lankford, secretary.The board shared details of the next trustee orientation/education session, as prescribed in G.S. 115 D-19(b), to be held August 21-23 in Wilmington and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Annual Leadership Congress to be held October 16-19 in San Francisco.

College President’s Report

Dr. Jeff Cox recognized two Ashe County High School students who both earned their Associate in Arts degrees a couple of weeks prior to their high school graduation. Anna Blackburn and Chloe Parker graduated from WCC with 4.0 and 3.76 GPAs, respectively.

According to Dr. Cox, both Chloe and Anna began taking WCC courses the summer before their junior year of high school. They each consistently carried a college load of between six and fourteen hours a semester as well as in the summer of their junior and senior years. All this was in addition to their high school schedule. Blackburn plans to attend Washington and Lee University and Parker plans to attend The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Cox gave an update on the Ashe Early College High School. The 2018-2019 school year was a year of “Rising to the Challenge” for Ashe Early College High School, and it is a pleasure to announce that the challenge was met. The first cohort of 60 students to enter the early college included 16 sophomores and 44 freshmen. A principal, administrative assistant, college liaison, and a counselor joined with three high school teachers and two WCC custodians to form the faculty and staff.

Trustees approved the new WCC policy manual that was revised with the aid of Campbell and Shatley, attorneys at law, in Asheville, NC.

Dr. Cox shared highlights from the 2018-2019 strategic plan implementation and gave a brief overview of major initiatives slated for implementation in 2019-2020.

he WCC Board of Trustees will meet again on Thursday, October 10, 2019, at the John A. Walker Center, Lakey Ballroom.