Advisory Board Meeting held in Nashville

Kaskaskia College held its final in a series of Community Advisory Board meetings in Nashville on Monday, November 18 at the Nashville Education Center.  The meetings are designed as a way to inform the community of the status of the College and to solicit feedback on how KC can best serve the needs of area employers and citizens.


Dr. Jim Underwood, President of Kaskaskia College, led the attendees through a booklet entitled “Kaskaskia College Report to the Community, 2013-14” that he called the College’s report card.  Dr. Underwood pointed out the increased enrollments at the College over the last decade, due in part to increased use of the Education Centers found in communities throughout the district.  Nashville has one of the smallest Education centers, but despite its lack of space and amenities it has seen increased use by students since its inception several years ago.


Dr. Underwood pointed out that the College last year received approval from the Higher Learning Commission (the college accrediting agency) for full program offerings at all of KC’s extension centers, which will allow the College to migrate more classes and programs away from the main campus.  The problem for Nashville is a lack of space to host this increased amount of educational programming.


The meeting took place in the largest space available at the Nashville Center, a room that hosts many classes and doubles as a science laboratory, despite seating only 20 persons in a pinch. With a full house of attendees seated at the tables, some had to make do with folding chairs lined up against the walls.  The cramped space served to act as an illustration of why a larger space for education is needed for the Washington County area.


Therefore, it was little surprise that talk soon turned to the project to expand the Nashville Education Center from its current 3,500 square feet of leased space to a new facility to be built on Highway 127 north of Nashville that will comprise over 12,000 square feet of instructional and community space.  The land for the expansion has been approved for purchase by the Board of Trustees, and a design for the building has also been approved.  The Board has allocated $1,770,000 in extended bond funds for the project, and the College recently launched a fundraising campaign to raise the remainder of $1,285,000 needed to bring the project to completion.  The project is part of the College’s capital building plan, which will expand and or renovate facilities throughout the district without the need for a tax increase.


In the question and answer portion of the meeting, attendees were encouraged to make comments or ask questions about the College and the proposed building project.  The comments were uniformly positive as Advisory Board members shared their experiences with KC and the Nashville Center.


Most questions concerned new programming planned for the expanded Center when it opens.  Dr. Greg Labyak, Vice-president of Instruction for KC, pointed members to the page in the booklet which highlighted the proposed courses, which includes Nurse Assistant and Certified Nurse Assistant, Paramedicine, Early Childhood Education, and Supervisory Management courses, along with a plethora of general education classes.  Dr. Labyak also pointed out that the increased space will allow for the College to remain flexible enough to include classes and courses to fill changing needs in the community.


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