Ground Broken For Student Services Facility
Calling the project an investment in the region’s future, Iowa Lakes Community College President Val Newhouse and guests officially broke ground for a new Student Services Center at the Emmetsburg campus Monday morning. The new 12,371 square foot facility will be located on the Ground was broken Monday morning for the new Student Services Facility at the Emmetsburg campus of Iowa Lakes Community College.
The facility was designed to meet the growing needs of current and incoming students. Located in the former courtyard area and in front of the Auditorium entrance, the facility will feature several offices to serve incoming students; specifically the offices of Financial Aid, Registrar, Admissions, the Cashier and Records services. Along with the offices will be a new location for the College Store, the Iowa Lakes Success Center, Student Center office, a conference room and workroom.
President Valerie Newhouse thanked the citizens of Merged Area Three for supporting the bond referendum back in February that made the project possible. “This project is for our students, and it is also for the economic future of our area. This will provide the services and areas our current students and potential students will need. We believe this will be a positive way to show off our super-friendly staff and our professional faculty. Again, my thanks to everyone here today who made this vision possible.”
Pat Kibbie, Vice President of the Iowa Lakes Board of Trustees, noted that the term ‘community college’ meant that the trustees were committed with bringing education to the community and its people. “Today, the working atmosphere is changing and the training and re-training of tomorrow’s workforce is essential to insure the best individuals in the Iowa Lakes District. Our mission is to provide opportunities for quality of life-long learning and economic development. Rest assured that your trustees are committed to make sure the mission occurs each day.”
Professor of Biology Mark Zabawa spoke about keeping the quality of education a priority with the project. “In receiving a super-majority of the vote, the people showed how important this institution is in this area and we appreciate that very much. All these renovations and innovations are going to allow the faculty to do the best job they can do and it will be essential in keeping Iowa Lakes one of the best colleges in Iowa, and that’s our goal. For the first two years of college, we want Iowa Lakes to be the best place in the world to go, and I feel that this project is necessary to do that.”
Representing the student body, Cierra McAllister of Emmetsburg also offered her thanks to the public. “Thanks to the community members who went out on a cold February day to vote and pass the referendum. I know when prospective students are looking for a college, they want somewhere that feels like home somewhere that feels safe and important, where they’re cared aboutand a place where they can make life-long friends and learn life-long skills. Iowa Lakes is that place, it has been that place for 50 years and it will be for many years to come.”
“On behalf of the college and especially this campus, we greatly appreciate the support of the voters in passing the bond,” Executive Dean Tom Brotherton said. “It is the first and the only bond of its type in the 50 years history of Iowa Lakes that has been offered and we greatly appreciate your support.”
Through the passage of the bond referendum, improvements to facilities and construction at each of the five Iowa Lakes locations can be made, including upgrades to building security at all five locations, as well as construction of new facilities in Emmetsburg and Estherville.
“Emmetsburg just happens to be the one to get into construction first here and we’re glad for that, but we don’t always want to be the trial site,” Brotherton said, “But Sande Construction and others will work quickly and we’re very happy to work with them.
Sande Construction of Humboldt was the low bidder for the project, at $3.8 million, which includes demolition of an enclosed walkway, excavation of the existing courtyard, construction of the actual 12,371 square-foot facility and a new parking lot to the north of the existing building.
“I mentioned earlier that this has been a goal before my time,” Brotherton explained. “My assistant at the time showed me drawings, pictures and we talked about it year after year and depending on when things might occur, and what we might be able to do, so this has been a long-term goal. This is actually, I think, the best plan of all. This is also a campus priority. Periodically, we sit down as a group with faculty, administration and staff and talk about what does the campus really need, and this has risen to the top every top that we’ve done that process.”
Brotherton also pointed out that the new building would actually turn the new main entrance to the east, making the building much more energy efficient and much more comfortable and give the school a true front entrance, as well as implementing security improvements and making it the primary entrance to the facility.
Construction is slated to begin at the end of the week, with the facility targeted for completion August 1 of 2017.