09/26/07 — WCC board approves $26 million budget

View Archive

WCC board approves $26 million budget

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 26, 2007 1:52 PM

Wayne Community College is embarking on a stellar year, its president told the board of trustees Tuesday night.

The board approved a nearly $26 million budget for the fiscal year, reflecting an increase from state and local funding, and college president Dr. Kay Albertson said enrollment in some areas is also climbing and construction projects are on track.

The 2007-08 budget includes all sources -- county, state, federal and institutional -- and is up $1.2 million from the previous year, attributed to additional funding from the state and county, said Gwyn Wilson, chairman of the finance committee.

"We received about a $1 million increase in our budget from the state," she said. "The budget also includes health sciences funds in the amount of $98,627. This is the first year that these funds have been received and were given to help colleges with high costs associated with allied health programs."

An additional $329,010 came from the county, she said. The capital outlay area increased from $125,000 to more than $283,800 plus another $425,000 to replace the roof on the Dogwood Building. The proposed budget will be sent to Raleigh for approval by the state board. And while it might be subject to change throughout the year, Ms. Wilson said the document is a strong one.

"We are in very good shape starting the new year. We are glad of that," she said.

Dr. Albertson, who took over the reigns as president July 1, called it "a wonderful way to begin a presidency."

Crediting the administration and staff with working very hard to pull the budget together, she said, "We're very blessed that we can do as many things this year as have been requested.

"We will continue to look at technology and infrastructure, also look at spiffing up a number of areas on our campus that we have not been able to do in the past."

Dr. Albertson also was enthused about other changes at the college.

"We brought in 26 people since May and June, a number of them new faculty members," she said.

Enrollment for the fall semester is at 3,223, she added, an estimated 45 more students than at the conclusion of last year's fall semester. She projects the final figures will climb even more once all the figures from satellite locations are in.

"We haven't dropped, but we have a flat enrollment because of deployment, and the moving of the prison (on base) was devastating to the college because, as you know, that was a captive audience, no pun intended," she said. "They were taking course after course after course.

One of the fastest-growing areas of enrollment, she said, is 17- to 22-year-olds.

"High school students, the numbers are up -- 275 students taking courses on our campus as compared to 215 last fall at this time," she said, attributing some of that to the Jump Start and Wayne Early/Middle College High School programs.

There has also been an increase in the area of Ag and Natural Resources, she noted.

"We have 94 students in the Ag and Natural Resources Program compared to 71 last year. (That's) the highest head count in three years," she said.

Ken Ritt, vice president for education support services, gave the facilities update. Several projects have recently been completed, including renovations to the Dogwood building and a multi-purpose technology building, with $23,652 and $24,156, respectively, remaining in the contingency funds.

The college was awarded an unexpected $512,000 grant from the state's community college system to complete additions and renovations to the auto body project, originally programmed for bond funding, Ritt said. Approved in March, construction drawings are in final review and must also be reviewed by the state office. The estimated time to complete the work is May 2008.

Meanwhile, an underground 1,000-gallon storage tank next to the Magnolia Building will be removed. No longer in use, its removal was strongly recommended by the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"There's never been more than 50 or 60 gallons in it," Ritt explained. "We have elected to take that tank out of service and out of the ground ... will start probably in the next couple of weeks."

Cost of removal is between $3,980 and $4,975 depending on the condition of the soil, he noted. The soil will have to be tested and tank closure reports filed with the state.