MCC board purchases land adjacent to college

At Monday’s meeting the Miles Community College Board approved a land purchase resolution. 

The resolution approved the purchase of the Fretland land for $187,500. The college would use building fees as the funding source. 

The idea of purchasing the land began when former MCC President Stefani Hicswa expressed a desire for the college to own part of the Fretland land for future expansion. 

The college had lengthy conversations with Landmark Land. When it came up for sale in 2012, Landmark Land purchased a two-acre tract that is adjacent to the college. 

A “gentleman’s agreement” was made between MCC and Landmark Land that when MCC had the funds equal to around approximately half of the original purchase price, Landmark Land would sell one acre to the college and donate the second. 

Earlier this year, College President Stacy Klippenstein revealed that MCC had the money to purchase the land. The resolution was brought to the board during the board meeting. The board voted to skip a second reading and approved the purchase. With that approval the transaction is in process.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Miles Community College. We are getting the property for approximately half of what it cost in 2012,” said Lisa Smith, vice president of administrative services. “Water and sewer utilities have been installed to the property and of course, the expansion of Dickinson Street to Haynes increases the value of the property. MCC is extremely grateful to Landmark Land Company for their generosity.”

According to Smith, the potential options for the land is space for a new dormitory, an expansion of the Centra, or an expansion of Dining Services.

Also discussed during the meeting was the progress on the old armory building. It is moving along with the bids for cleanup and the renovation plans on the verge of being completed. 

MCC purchased the armory to house the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program and the Heavy Equipment program.

MCC is working with Brandon Janshen and Chad Sutter with Stevenson Design to finish the renovation plans. They will then be submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce to be reviewed.

After being reviewed the bids will go out. Sutter said he is guessing the bids will be out early November. 

The initial work will be to remove lead paint and clean up asbestos before the general contractors begin their work. 

According to Sutter, some of the renovations include gutting one of of the restrooms to create classrooms and offices, creating a simulator space, and installing a new restroom. The building has an issue with the sewer system freezing up. They plan on replacing that and wiring the new classrooms and offices, along with other projects like insulation.

“The building has no insulation,” said Sutter. “It hasn’t been updated since it was built in the 50s.”

There is no set timeline but Sutter is guessing everything should be completed by late spring. 

Also discussed Monday was the progress on the Ag Advancement Center on the west end campus. 

“It’s going up very well. Overall I’m very pleased with how it’s going,” said Klippenstein. “So far we’re on schedule.”

According to Klippenstein, the concrete has been poured and the building is going up. Officials are hoping it will be enclosed within the next few weeks.

The building will include classrooms, faculty offices, a foyer area, an arena with seating for over 500 people, and a multipurpose space to be used for the training and enrollment in the Agriculture and Equine Studies programs. 

The next board meeting is slated for Oct. 24 at 5:30 p.m.