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Board of Trustees News: CLC earns gold award for going green

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Oct 29, 2014

The college has received a gold award for campus sustainability from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, CLC Board Chairman Amanda Howland announced at the Oct. 28 Board of Trustees meeting on the Lakeshore Campus.

The award, presented through the office of Gov. Pat Quinn on Oct. 23, recognizes the college for its efforts to integrate environmental sustainability throughout its campuses. 

CLC is undertaking sustainability initiatives under two major plans—a Sustainable Campus Master Plan and a Sustainability Plan. The Sustainable Campus Master Plan includes such features as an energy-saving geothermal loop circling the Grayslake Campus, solar panels and construction of buildings that are LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The campus master plan will be constructed over about five years. Construction of the geothermal loop and science building are scheduled to begin in Spring 2015. The college will seek LEED platinum (highest) certification for the science building, which will include a rooftop photovoltaic array, rainwater harvesting and LED lighting. When fully operational, the geothermal loop is expected to reduce CLC’s energy costs by 20 percent by 2018, according, to David Agazzi, vice president for administrative affairs.

“Our sustainability initiatives will save taxpayers’ money through reduced energy costs,” Board Chairman Amanda Howland said after the meeting. “They’re also a tangible demonstration of our commitment to help create better lives for our students and community.”      

Open Source Textbooks

Dr. Page Wolf, a CLC instructional developer, updated the board on efforts to reduce textbook costs by replacing textbooks with “open education resources”—books, articles and multimedia content available free or at low cost in the public domain.

Wolf said that, according to the College Board, textbook costs have risen 800 percent over the past 30 years, and the average student now spends about $1,200 on books and supplies.

With rising costs, Wolf said, many students opt not to buy required textbooks at some point. To cut textbook costs, Wolf said the college is conducting pilot projects to create open-access texts. She said that in Spring 2015, for example, 10 sections of Psychology 121 will use a text developed from open-access content.

Though open education resources offer a way to significantly cut students’ textbook costs, using them is labor and time-intensive because materials must be collected, edited or modified to meet the specific instructional needs of each course, Wolf said.

Grants

Adding to previous grant funding for CLC’s Lasers, Photonics and Optics academic program, the trustees accepted $151,260 in funding from the National Science Foundation. CLC previously received more than $1 million in funding from the National Science Foundation for the program.

CLC is receiving the additional funding through a partnership with Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, which has been awarded a four-year $3 million grant from the NSF to establish and operate a Midwest Photonics Education Center to increase the supply of photonics technicians in the Midwest.

CLC will use its portion of the grant to cover costs of hosting professional development workshops for secondary school educators and seminars for students, conducting employer outreach and purchasing equipment for the program.

Tax Levy

The board approved  a proposed tax levy for the 2014 tax year of $66.58 million, a 3.3 percent increase from the $64.47 million extension for 2013. The total proposed levy would increase taxes by 3.3 percent.

The Lake County Clerk will determine the actual amount of taxes to be extended on the 2014 levy after applying the tax cap formula, including adding new property to the tax base. The college anticipates that the tax rate for capped funds in 2014 will be approximately 29.6 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, up slightly from the 28.8 cent rate in 2013.

Purchasing

The board awarded the following:

  • A contract for $328,544.55 with CDW Government LLC of Vernon Hills to purchase network and telephone equipment.
  • A contract for $152,399.36 with Pace Systems, Inc. of Naperville to purchase, install and test audio visual technology for classrooms.
  • A purchase of $65,000 from OEC Business Interiors of Elmhurst for furniture to remodel the Grayslake Atrium area as part of the Sustainable Campus Master Plan.
  • Under non-biddables, the board approved a contract with DK Contractors Inc. of Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., for $6,327 to complete sewer improvements at the Lakeshore Campus. The contract addresses unforeseen complications not covered in an earlier contract with the company for $43,725.