Cowley College trustees discussed, at length, the potential for building dorms not only in Arkansas City but in Wellington during their Monday night meeting.
The meeting took place in the newly finished Technology and Innovation Center in Wellington.
Trustees viewed the classrooms that have been finished and the progress being made on the Short Education Center.
Wellington student housing
Trustee Glennis Zimmerman, the Sumner representative on the board, asked the board to look into the need for student housing in Sumner County.
She indicated that the need for housing should be looked into before the end of the ten-year sales tax.
“Our half-cent sales tax is for 10 years, folks,” she said. “If we can’t show growth, I’m not sure our Sumner County will approve the sales tax again.”
Summer County voters approved the sales tax three years ago.
On-campus housing was not part of the first phase of the Sumner County campus development, according to Cowley College President Dennis Rittle.
He also noted that it was on the schedule for future phases.
One of the issues that Zimmerman brought before the board included potential students choosing different schools that have on-site housing.
She also presented a potential solution.
“I know of a facility in the community that would house about 40 people,” Zimmerman said.
The facility is located off campus, but the City of Wellington has a bussing system that could be utilized by the students.
Rittle said that two staff members walked through the facility and the cost for renovations was estimated to be in the $2 to $3 million dollar range.
Several trustees expressed concerns over building a dorm or refurbishing an existing facility.
The consensus of the board Monday was to stay with on-campus housing.
Board approves study
The board voted to give the go-ahead on a feasibility study for the land formerly known as Carver Park.
This action was not unexpected, as the college recently purchased the land from the City of Arkansas City for $87,000.
The City plans to use the money to help finish the hike/bike trail.
Trustee Gary Wilson’s initial vote was no, however, he ultimately changed his vote after Rittle explained that the study would not bind the college into any further action.
Wilson’s standpoint was that he believed the college should finish one project — the Wellington campus — before starting another large building project.