WSCC facilities master plan keeps the college moving forward

SCOTTVILLE — Having a working plan in place and following it is the key to success.

Architect Tom Mathison of Mathison Architects points to a diagram as he gives members of the West Shore Community College Board of Trustees a report on the Facilities Master Plan Update.

Architect Tom Mathison of Mathison Architects points to a diagram as he gives members of the West Shore Community College Board of Trustees a report on the Facilities Master Plan Update.

The West Shore Community College Board of Trustees and administration heard a report on Monday from Mathison Architect’s  Tom Mathison, who handles the college’s Facilities Master Plan which has to be filed with the State of Michigan giving them the opportunity to secure funding for building projects.

Mathison has handled this duty for the college for the past 18 years, since 2000 when he was with the TowerPinkster Firm. He continued to provide those services when he established his own firm and annually reviews WSCC’s facilities and infrastructure for the Facilities Master Plan.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work with the college on its facilities master plan,” said Mathison. “We have seen the college grow and mature in the time we have worked with you.”

In the past year WSCC has embarked on several projects on its 350 acre campus. The college annually puts together a list of projects they would like to do and ranks them in terms of importance in their facilities master plan. That is then submitted to the state to be considered for possible funding.

“This is probably the most unique opportunity that I have been here to see so much activity going on at the same time,” said Mathison. “It has had great impact on the master plan we have been working on this year. You have literally have three projects under construction and another two about to be under construction at this time. In the past year you have wiped off about half of your list and it has a tremendous  impact not only on your student success and community engagement, but also in terms of the trajectory to the future.”

Mathison said he was delivering a preliminary report and that the full written report is due with the State of Michigan by Nov. 1. He said the master plan centers around the college’s mission and vision.

“It is a requirement that you provide this report to the state and it chronicles where you have been and where you are going,” he said. “You have so many things under construction right now that we had to go down the list from last year to find that top priority for the upcoming one.”

Mathison said that project priority can change due to a lot of things like a special gift for a certain project, capital outlay money or some other circumstance that comes up. He cited the opportunity that came up at the college with  the public safety building.

He said something that will be different in the report this year is an update on the assessment (value) of the facilities at the college. It is something that was last done in 2016 and his firm is in the process of finalizing that assessment right now.

Mathison listed off the five  construction projects currently in progress at the college.

“First of all the technical center project is underway right now with the welding lab expansion, internal renovation of the internal phase and the addition to the building,” said Mathison. “The ice arena will be getting multi-purpose rooms, referee locker rooms and new flooring. The Public Safety Training Center (located on US-31) is a complete renovation of the two-story building. The water connection to the City of Ludington will be complete next year and the addition of the emergency generator is another.”

Mathison said many of those projects have been on WSCC’s list for many years. He said they should have a huge impact on those buildings.

However, he said there still are more projects to come. One of those is the college’s efforts to include an outdoor sculpture on campus.

“On the Scottville campus, this includes primarily issues dealing with the sculpture and some modifications there, and site work dealing with the agri-science program and the possibility of some future student housing (three 40 bed units),” said Mathison. “So all of those are part of the picture.”

In the administrative building he said the ability to act as a more robust conference center is a priority and the adding of a foyer, a pre-functional space and to the existing functional area. Cost to do that work is being estimated at $3.3 million.

The recreation center continues to have infrastructure needs; including the plumbing and piping that make the pool function are in need of replacement. A new tile pool deck is also needed in that area. The college also needs to renovate the upper area where the law enforcement classes are currently located once they move to the new Public Safety center.

Mathison said preliminary costs for the recreation center could be in the $5 million range.

“We really need to focus on that so it remains the kind of community asset it has always been,” said Mathison. “Many people in the community recognize the pool and recreation center first when you mention WSCC. “We are recommending the recreation center as the top priority project. It is the facility with the most needs that impact the students and the community.”

Mathison said the Schoenherr Student Center is already under planning for internal work relating to the book store and cafeteria. The floor plan for the upper level also includes renovations for better functional space. He estimated the cost to be in the $900,000 range.

“You are very methodically and intentionally resolving all the issues you have been talking about for so many years,” said Mathison. “There will always be needs, but you have managed to whittle your needs to manageable level.”

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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 kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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