WSCC board approves moving forward on possible Glik’s purchase

SCOTTVILLE — The West Shore Community College Board of Trustees voted 6-0 on Monday to give college president Scott Ward the authority to work with the college’s legal counsel to enter into a purchase agreement not to exceed $525,000 to protect the college’s option to purchase the building at 400 River St. (former Glik’s building) in Manistee.

The West Shore Community College Board of Trustees took action on Monday to proceed with the process that could lead to the purchase of the former Glik’s building in Manistee.

Ward explained to the board this action would protect the college’s investment in the costs of the due diligence efforts for the property. He also was instructed by the board that the purchase agreement was subject to reasonable and customary conditions precedent as negotiated by the parties, with the final agreement subject to review and approval by the board at a future meeting.

“Considerable work has been performed to provide the information provided to date, but further due diligence is required,” said Ward. “Before any purchase consideration, the college will want a title review, survey appraisal, environmental site assessment and other due diligence materials.”

The president said they were taking this action on the advice of legal counsel.

“To protect the college’s interest prior to pursuing these due diligence materials, legal counsel has recommended that the college enter into a purchase agreement on the property,” said Ward. “This would protect the college’s option to purchase the property and would protect our investment in the costs of due diligence efforts.”

Ward told the board that if all of those things come into place a recommendation will come to the board for approval to purchase the property.

“Likewise if these due diligence efforts reveal that a purchase would not be in the best interest of the college I will communicate this to the board for the sake of a follow-up,” said Ward.

The cost of purchasing the 13,000 square foot building that includes 41 private onside parking spaces is $525,000.

The efforts to purchase the former Glik’s building first came to light at the board’s November meeting. That prompted college officials to begin gathering information concerning questions or concerns that have been posed by trustees and constituents both on campus and in the local communities.

Ward said that in addition to that, a Phase I environmental site assessment was done in December, a vapor intrusion assesment in January and geotechnical exploration in February.

“The content of these documents helped in the decision to further pursue this project,” said Ward. “I have received  some overwhelmingly positive support for this project from students, faculty, and community members. A common viewpoint is happiness that the college is looking for new ways to serve the public and forming better collaborative relationships to better serve our community.”

Part of that pleasure is Ward revealed an anonymous donor has made a commitment to provide $1 million of support to the project. He said that donation is based on the belief workforce development, economic development and the education access.

“It is also based on the revitalization and beautification of the downtown area,” said Ward.

Some of the questions that came up were concerns that WSCC currently has space in the Manistee Educational Center at Munson Hospital. However, that classroom space is only available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Having the downtown location would open up opportunities for morning afternoon and weekend programming. it would also allow the college to provide additional community education classes and other college offerings.

What it would also do is give the college a presence right in the heart of downtown Manistee.

One area in particular of concern has been the recent loss of dual enrollment students in Manistee County. Some county K-12 districts began seeking other options for dual enrollment because of travel time and costs attributed to the travel to the college for dual enrollment courses.

However, Ward cautioned that he looks at the purchase as needing other pieces of the puzzle to come together to make it feasible. That would entail the Manistee County Chamber of Commerce and Networks Northwest having office space in the building.

“Networks Northwest would assist our students, veterans and community members with career searches, job interviewing skills and additional education and training,” said Ward. “The chamber would enhance our economic and workforce development services to the business community by identifying and addressing training needs in the business community, provide business counseling, workshops, seminars and business expansion assistance.”

Ward said the chamber has also agreed to assist with college services, such as the application process and disseminating information at the new location until there is a need for a full or part-time staff person.

Other items to come up at Monday’s meeting was the approval to the second reading of Board Policy 6053  to make WSCC a smoke free and tobacco free campus. The board unanimously approved the first reading at the January meeting and did the same for the second reading. The new policy will be implemented on June 1.

Board members also heard a report from WSCC vice president of academics & student services Mark Kinney on a $11,100 simulation grant application.

The state of Michigan is awarding a one-time grant to nursing education programs to purchase equipment and supplies that are needed for a simulation laboratory. Kinney informed the board that they would be applying for the grant.

Approval was also given to the second reading of the campus closure board policy 6057. This policy allows the president to take into consideration the weather related closings of area schools and give the president the option of canceling classes at WSCC. The second reading passed on a unanimous vote.

Board members also followed the positive recommendation of the personnel committee to approve the general fund expenditures in the amount of $922,309 and auxiliary fund expenditures of $170,689.

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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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