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Central Community College plans major expansion of Grand Island campus

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Central Community College is readying to undertake a major campus expansion project.

At a special session of the Grand Island City Council Tuesday, College President Matt Gotschall detailed plans for the Grand Island campus to council members.

CCC is requesting American Rescue Plan Act funds for on-site infrastructure needs.

A new road and city infrastructure will cost about $1.2 million. CCC wants the city to share the cost with the college, and asked for $500,000 to $1 million in ARPA funds.

The added infrastructure will allow the campus to expand north.

New buildings planned for the campus include an Information technology and business facility, at $1.64 million.

“We’re hearing that a lot from business and industry that they need people trained and able to work in business and information technology,” said Gotschall. “All this technology is great as long as it works, but we certainly need a lot more people that know how to fix it and keep it running.”

Also planned is an expanded welding instruction facility at $1.94 million.

“The numbers in that program have been growing,” said Gotschall. “It’s currently in our north center for health and technologies, but it really needs its own separate building for safety and expansion purposes in order to accommodate more students in that program.”

A new road needs to be constructed first, though.

CCC asked the city Tuesday to construct a road between two city streets to the east and west side of the campus: Workman Drive and Tech Boulevard.

“We need a road build across the north side of our campus there to connect those two,” said Gotschall. “Along that connecting road is where we plan to put that new welding building and where we also plan to put a facilities building.”

A new facilities and maintenance building is expected to cost $2.45 million, and would replace one located at the center of campus to outside of the main campus.

CCC is also planning to expand its student housing. This would cost about $5.6 million and be done through a revenue bond, said Gotschall.

“To do that, we need to expand on that north end of our campus,” he said. “Getting that road in there first and the infrastructure, the sewer, the water, the electrical, things like that, will really set us up well to start looking at how we want to expand the Grand Island campus.”

CCC generates approximately $60 million per year in revenue, explained Gotschall.

This includes its 25-county property tax share (63%), state aid (18%) and student tuition (16%).

Expenses include personnel (76%), operating costs (18%), supplies (2%), travel (1%) and equipment (1%).

CCC also has the authority to collect about $12.5 million per year for capital improvements “for repair, maintenance, building expansion” for its campuses and centers.

Working with Olsson Engineering, Gotschall expects to have more definite figures brought to the city in November. He hopes to have the new road completed in 2023.

Council Member Mark Stelk voiced support for the partnership.

“Education is a big piece of Grand Island and it’s a piece we’ve been lacking for years,” he said. “I’d like to further the educational opportunities of our young kids so we have welders and nurses that can staff the hospital, that can staff New Holland, that can staff Chief Industries.”

He added, “I think it’s important for the council to back this project.”

Councilman Mitch Nickerson said he was “caught off guard” by the request, as CCC is the first outside entity to request ARPA funds.

“We haven’t even had a chance to sit and talk about what our needs are yet,” he said. “One of the things the council still has to do is, we’ve got to see what our internal needs are, with the limited funds, and find out how this fits into that picture.”

City of Grand Island and Hall County are both using ARPA funds for Central Nebraska Regional Airport’s needed sewer rehabilitation project, which will cost roughly $8 million.

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