Trustees hear about long-term planning on Sumner Campus

July 1, 2020

A special meeting of the Cowley College Board of Trustees was held Tuesday in the Earle N. Wright Community Room. The meeting was held in the spacious Wright Room in order to safely increase community access with an approximate gathering limitation of approximately 60 people while maintaining adequate social distancing. The meeting was also live streamed to comply with social distancing guidelines.

During the meeting, the Board discussed long-term planning on the Sumner Campus in Wellington, KS. Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle provided the Board with a PowerPoint presentation detailing the history, campus design, and future plans for the Sumner Campus including possible housing opportunities.

“We have a great appreciation for the City of Wellington,” Dr. Rittle said.

The college has the ability to renew the 10-year sales tax or alternate dedicated revenue stream by starting a campaign in the spring of 2025. They also have the ability to purchase the additional 10 adjacent acres at approximately $450,000 no later than November 2026.

Dr. Michelle Schoon, vice president of academic affairs, informed the Board of programs offered at the Short General Education Center and the Sumner Campus Technology and Innovation Center. Dr. Schoon also provided an enrollment update and discussed future grant opportunities for the Sumner Campus.

Buddy Curry, Cowley College agricultural program coordinator, then provided an update on the agriculture program. Mr. Curry discussed the creation of the program and the formation of a livestock judging team. He also discussed what the program needs to continue to grow and prosper.

Jan Grace, Sumner Campus Operations Officer, then informed the Trustees of future opportunities for donors to give to the college as well as additional grant opportunities.

Trustee Gary Wilson informed the Board of recent discussions he has had with local businesses in regards to housing at the Sumner Campus. To that point, Board Chair Dr. Harold W. Arnett said the college wants to find a balance in helping the campus succeed.

“Seeing that housing is part of that, and yet also being sensitive to the cost factors involved, we are trying to find a way to move forward to where we can service students,” Dr. Arnett said.

In other matters:

  1. The Board approved Trustees Brian Sanderholm and Gary Wilson volunteer to work with the college administration to produce bid specifications or parameters for student housing at the Sumner Campus.
  2. The Board approved a working session for the Trustees be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., August 8 at a location to be determined.
  3. The Board discussed further refinement of Trustee replacement and the selection process. The public forum will take place July 13 at 6 p.m. in the Earle N. Wright Community Room.
  4. The Board approved the decision to select two replacement Trustees at the July 20 Board of Trustees meeting.
  5. The Trustees held three executive sessions; one to discuss non-elected personnel, regarding the actions of non-elected personnel for 20 minutes; one to discuss non-elected personnel, regarding the routine annual presidential performance appraisal, with Trustees only, for 15 minutes; and another to discuss non-elected personnel, regarding the annual presidential performance appraisal, to include Dr. Rittle, for 30 minutes.
  6. The Board concluded business at 9:48 p.m.