By Debra Moore
The Feather River College Board of Trustees granted tenure, approved contracts and accepted nearly $1.2 million in coronavirus relief funding during its monthly meeting Feb. 18.
Feather River College granted tenure to three of its staff members: head football coach Nick Goulet, English instructor William Lombardi and EOPS/Care Counselor Monica Potter.
“There’s a lot of steps in the process,” Dean of Instruction Derek Lerch explained Feb. 18. “Each faculty member has a multi-pronged evaluation.” The process includes input from students, peers, themselves, and the administration and involves a four-year probationary period.
All of the activity culminates in a meeting with the tenure review committee, which must come to a consensus on the recommendation. Lerch said this was his 10th year to participate and sometimes the discussions “are very difficult” but this was not. “The three individuals up today were very easy decisions,” he said.
The Feather River College Board of Trustees voted 4-1 to grant tenure with Dana Ware, Guy McNett, Bill Elliott and John Sheehan voting yes; Trustee Trent Saxton voted no.
Black History Month
Though the tenure decision was a split vote, all five trustees voted unanimously to pass a resolution declaring February as Black History Month at Feather River College.
“Thank you to that statement for our public,” FRC President Kevin Trutna said following the vote.
The resolution included statements from the student body and the academic senate.
The student portion read: “On behalf of the student body at Feather River College, we associated students can state that the diverse students of FRC feel represented, accepted, and regarded by the administration, faculty, and instructors at the college. Feather River College takes the opportunity to touch the lives of students from varying backgrounds and we experience the benefit of their endeavors. In honor of Black History Month, we want to bring to the foreground the importance of recognizing and listening to all student voices. At FRC, all of our voices are heard, and our opinions as well as our morals are valued.”
The steel building
The trustees were asked to approve a contract with Pace Engineering to design a hay barn and a calving/storage barn to be located near the existing corrals on campus. Trutna said that the college had received four bids and selected Pace. The firm would design and engineer the structures and then present them to the division of state architecture for approval.
Trustee Saxton inquired about the cost and was told the buildings would cost approximately $250,000, but the actual number wouldn’t be known until they were designed and put out to bid.
“Whatever happened to the steel building on campus?” Saxton asked referring to a building that had been purchased for the baseball program’s indoor practice sessions, but wasn’t approved for that purpose.
Trutna said he had made inquiries, but was told the building wouldn’t be suitable, due to the need for roll-up doors.
Saxton said that the building would certainly be large enough to facilitate the calving operation and thought it should be considered.
Trustee Ware said she didn’t think the discussion was pertinent to the agenda item, and Trustee Sheehan moved on to talk about the permitting process.
Russell Reid, who runs FRC’s agriculture program was attending the meeting, and responded to questions regarding the permit process. Then Saxton asked him about the viability of the existing steel building.
“I have no idea,” Reid responded, saying that he didn’t know where it was purchased or if it would meet the engineering requirements.
Saxton said the requirements had been met. “Those were already done for this building, for this region and for this campus,” Saxton said. He said even if modifications were needed for the building — such as rollup doors — its use could save the college money.
“I don’t have a problem with PACE, but showing an engineered building that we have is not a ridiculous consideration,” he said. “It shows we are being prudent.”
The other trustees agreed and approved the contract with Pace, with the caveat that it look at the existing building.
Accepting a CARES Act grant
The trustees voted to accept nearly $1.2 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the federal government.
Board president Dana Ware asked if the funding was to be divided with students as has been required by previous CARES Act funding.
“Yes, but it’s a little more liberal,” Trutna said. “The aid to the student isn’t defined as a check to the student.”
Trustee Saxton said he would like to see some of the funding be allocated to maintenance and repairs on campus, as well as on technology as needed. Trutna said the college had made significant improvements in the latter area, but would consider it.
The trustees voted to approve agreements with several entities Feb. 18, including one with Virus Geeks to provide on campus COVID testing. Each test costs $37. Plumas District Hospital will continue to test symptomatic individuals, and those who are returning to campus, but Virus Geeks will handle the regular testing of athletes. As of Feb. 18, Virus Geeks had tested 274 students.
An agreement for $22,330 was approved with a mobile broadband provider to provide 52 SmartSpots for the Upward Bound Program that assists high school students.
Also in the tech realm, trustees approved an agreement with PeekPeek corporation to provide the college with design and delivery of a 360 WebTour experience including website hosting and maintenance.
Trustees approved a $27,500 agreement with JK Architecture Engineering for the firm to review the college’s existing space use utilization and how to best position itself for future state funding.
Trustees approved an affiliation with Plumas District Hospital to allow FRC’s vocational nursing program students to obtain clinical training and experience at the facility.