DOBSON — Surry Community College’s Board of Trustees began its regular meeting of the board Monday with some good news followed by some bad news.
Facility Committee Chairman Ed Carter told the board the college’s new industrial training center was on schedule with walls up and roof substructure completed. The bad news is the school’s 50-year-old steam heating system’s pipes are on the verge of failure.
Carter produced a three-inch diameter section of crumbling pipe which once connected the heating system to a building. He said funding had been secured and a separate boiler had been installed in V building at a cost of $50,000, but six more on the Dobson campus are dependent on pipes installed the same time and made of the same materials as the one which had failed.
He told the board that insulation in the underground concrete tunnels had failed as well as the piping and the cost of digging up and replacing the system, much of which is underneath newer construction at the school, was too expensive. He said the committee would seek funds to install independent boilers in the remaining buildings. Carter told the board the red flag for maintenance crews was steam visible from storm drains where hot water had run from leaking pipes.
“We know there are leaks, but we don’t know where they are,” said Carter. “The problem is if the main pipe fails we’ll have six buildings down at the same time without space to put a boiler in.” He told the board the system is running at half of its efficiency and the estimated costs could run $440,000.
College President Dr. David Shockley and Carter told the board this would remedy the heating problems but would not address air conditioning issues looming in the future from the aging cooling system serving these same buildings. Carter said spare parts were no longer available for some of the cooling units.
In instructional committee matters, Shockley received an endorsement from the board to submit a proposal to the state for a digital media technology program. The proposal would give a different degree option in addition to the existing graphic design track.
The digital media technology would prepare graduates to apply technology and game mechanics to create digital media applications for immersive learning and education as well as train them in planning, producing and testing complex interactive software applications. Graduates would learn skills including design, creation, editing and integrating visual components, creating 3D models and proficiency in scripting computer languages for interactive Web design.
Student Government Association President Audrey Mahan told the board the group is planning a health fair at the Dobson Campus for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. She said activities will include Yoga, and possibly Zumba, in addition to free flu shots from the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center and a bake sale.
College Foundation spokesperson Marion Venable told the board a total of $5,905.83 was in the student emergency fund. Venable reported that the foundation had paid 182 scholarships with a total amount of $103,674.38. New scholarships included the John and Rebecca Frank Scholarship and the Griggs L. Hampton Scholarship. She reported foundation assets amounted to $5.8 million.
Venable said the 17th annual Foundation Golf Tournament will be held May 23 at Cross Creek County Club and briefed the board about ongoing efforts to secure several parcels of land which would allow highway access to a large parcel of land previously purchased for future expansion of the school.
Shockley announced to the board that the school Phi Theta Kappa chapter has been recognized as a five-star chapter, the highest award available. The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students.
He said the Surry chapter had sponsored a public forum focused on leadership and awareness featuring Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson, Commissioner Buck Golding and Pilot Mountain Mayor Dr. Earl Sheppard. Chapter President James Cockerham, member Olivia McAuley and Advisor Kennette Thomas will attend the International Conference in San Jose in April to receive the award.
New hires announced to the board included Jamie Abernathy as technology services assistant, Justin Nichols as technology services network technician, Maria Saldarriaga-Osorio as library technical assistant, Scott Sullivan as technology services PC technician and Eric Willey as clinical coordinator for physical therapy assistant program.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.