Agri-science program could move to college

Members of the West Shore Community College board of trustees listen to college president Dr. Kenneth Urban and trustee Bruce Smith give a report on the proposal from the West Shore ESD about locating its entire program on campus.

Members of the West Shore Community College board of trustees listen to college president Dr. Kenneth Urban and trustee Bruce Smith give a report on the proposal from the West Shore ESD about locating its entire program on campus.

SCOTTVILLE — The West Shore ESD could be moving its entire Agriculture-Science program to the West Shore Community College campus in the near future.

WSCC president Dr. Kenneth Urban approached the board of trustees at Monday’s meeting with a proposal that was brought to him by the West Shore ESD.

“They are currently running an agriculture-science class at the college and  a section in Hart,” said Urban. “The classes are fully enrolled with the maximum number in each section. Next year they are losing that location in Hart, and that is why they approached us.”

Urban said that would mean running two sections on the WSCC campus.

“This would require classroom space that we currently have, but it would also require us to actually bring in two portable barns 12×30 feet and a hoop house,” he said. “One is currently in place that houses chickens and rabbits. The question at this point is if we have room to bring them on campus.”

The president said college officials are investigating how the capital requirements would be addressed and how that would be shared with the ESD.

“I intend to have a recommendation for any capital needs that we would have next month,” said Urban. “My recommendation would be to let them be on campus.”

Urban said no action was required at this time until he has the capital details in place.

Administrative committee chair Bruce Smith said his committee reviewed the proposal and there were some initial concerns about location of the barns on campus.

“Even if it was temporary it was the feeling of our committee that because we as a college are looking at ag science as a potential program in conjunction with Michigan State University,” said Smith. “It would behoove us to do whatever possible to go forward with this proposal even though the initial place of the barns and hoop house would be temporary.”

Smith said they think ESD program is well worth going the extra mile, and they have the space to accommodate it.

The final proposal will go back to the administrative committee before returning to the board at its next meeting.

Monday’s meeting also gave the trustees the opportunity to view a new video promoting the college that was developed Lake FX video. WSCC director of college relations Thom Hawley introduced the video to the board.

“The journey of four students are shown in a new video that had its premiere earlier this month during the winter in-service,” said Hawley. “The video showcases the many ways that the college is making a real difference in our students and community.”

Hawley said the video was a year in the making, and the community connections team identified the need for a high quality promotional video that captures what the essence of West Shore.

“We will also launch this video on our social media sites, where we hope it will be shared with many around the world,” he said. “It will also reside on our website and can be used as a promotional piece in a variety of media channels. We will be taking this out into the community in a variety of our speaking dates.”

Hawley said it is not just about what the college does, but about how the college delivers what it promises.

Board members were also given an update on the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA). Due to the absence at the meeting of trustee Mike Ennis, who sits on the MCCA board, the report was given by Urban.

“There isn’t much to report except that on Jan. 28, MCCA will be holding its annual summit meeting down in Lansing,” said Urban. “I will be in attendance along with (trustee) Dr. Anthony Fabaz, and we will give a report when we return.”

The meeting also saw the board review board policy 6084 on Statement of Equal Opportunity/Non discrimination and board policy 6087 on Title IX. It was the second reading of the policy.

“These two policies are both related to the Cleary Act and the protection of our students, faculty and staff,” said Urban. “They represent the consolidation of multiple discrimination and harassment policies into a single policy. It was done at the suggestion of the legal team.”

Board members approved the second reading 4-0.

“Because this is the second reading it would include these into our other policies,” said board chair James Jensen.

Board members also approved the general fund expenditures of $989,113 and auxiliary fund expenditures of $85,508 by a 4-0 vote. The one thing the board questioned was a donation to the ice arena that was explained by vice president of administrative services Scott Ward.

“It is a donation we receive annually for $10,000 to $15,000 from a person who wishes to remain private,” said Ward. “We try to earmark a lot of of those funds to skating scholarships and we purchased items to support the program.”

The next meeting of the board will be at 4 p.m. on Feb.15 at the college board room in the administrative and conference building.


Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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