Letter to the Editor: FRC is very fortunate, but you should follow the money

FRC is in line to receive a major windfall of funding from the Federal Government.  The American Rescue Plan Act, already passed by Congress, would give FRC an estimated $2,666,000 in special one-time funding.  Half of that must go to student financial aid. In addition, if the Administration’s proposed American Jobs Act is passed, $12 billion would be given to states to invest in existing physical and technology infrastructure and to improve access to community college in areas with few or no postsecondary options.  These funds are intended to expand high demand programs that train students for well-paying jobs.

With an estimated $10 million (plus) currently in its savings, this creates a special opportunity for FRC to catch up with unfunded facilities maintenance.  The condition of many buildings on the campus is poor and declining since facilities maintenance has been deferred for over a decade.  The campus must not squander this opportunity.

Because repairs and maintenance have been so neglected for so long, need will exceed resources.  For that reason, we need a method for compiling a comprehensive list. Then, that list needs to be vetted in an objective and transparent manner.  Board oversight of both the data gathering and decision processes is important to both good administrative practice and to fairness.  As facilities are considered, it should be remembered that our agriculture and equine program has been the fortunate recipient of significant facilities funding from the State Strong Workforce program.

Therefore, I am requesting that President Trutna develop and present to the Board of Trustees a detailed survey of the condition and maintenance needs of all FRC facilities.  The survey should cover all buildings and facilities including the off-campus health center and dormitories.  (Note: the dormitories are owned by the private, FRC Foundation raising questions about use of these funds on facilities not actually owned by FRC).

In addition to the facilities condition survey, President Trutna should direct that each department head submit a list with top to bottom priorities, maintenance, and upgrades for the Board of Trustees review.  The survey and reports should be completed by June 1st, 2021 and constitute the agenda for the Board’s annual retreat meeting.  In turn, the Board should report to the President and the community its findings and recommendations by September 1, 2021.

Dr. Trent Saxton

Trustee, Feather River College