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IVCCD Board receives ECC fire update

Ellsworth Community College Provost Martin Reimer recapped the Thompson Hall dormitory fire of Aug. 28 when the Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) Board of Directors met this month. Although most of the damage was smoke-related, structural repairs in the basement area where the fire began will not be completed until late September. In the meantime, about 150 residents of Thompson Hall have been relocated to shared spaces in other ECC housing buildings, some faculty/staff homes, and the two hotels in Iowa Falls.

Board President Larry Johnson and IVCCD Chancellor Kristie Fisher praised the efforts of Dr. Reimer and the ECC staff for their quick response in relocating and providing supplies to the dislocated students. They also heaped praises on the Iowa Falls community, which has contributed both monetary donations and personal supplies for the ECC students. “This was the last thing any college would want to face, but you stepped up and did all the right things,” Johnson told Dr. Reimer. “Kudos to everyone who helped and continues to help our ECC students!”

In other matters, the Board approved the following:

  • A resolution regarding the publication of notice on the proposed issuance of not to exceed $5 million in Industrial New Jobs Training Certificates for workforce training at Lennox Industries and JBS of Marshalltown (the projects were approved and discussed at length at the August meeting). The $5 million project is the largest of its kind for IVCCD.
  • A structural engineering agreement with Clapsaddle-Garber Associates for replacement of a section of roofing at Marshalltown Community College. The Board also set a public hearing for Oct. 9 for the plans, specifications, form of contract and estimated cost for the roofing project; it is hoped that the work can be completed before winter arrives.
  • An amendment and renewal to the Intermediary Network Services contract with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, which prepares students with disabilities for the workforce through pre-employment services such as job shadowing and internships.
  • Contracts with Grinnell and BGM High Schools for college credit coursework offered to high school students.

The Board also accepted numerous donations, including:

  • Equipment, a Case tractor loader backhoe, and a pickup truck for the MCC Natural Gas Technician program from Alliant Energy valued at between $30,520 and $33,520.
  • Equipment for the MCC Industrial Trades and Welding programs from Alliant Energy valued at $15,000.
  • Equipment for the MCC Utility Technician program from Lamoni Municipal Utilities valued at $2,500.
  • Tools for the Iowa Valley Grinnell Automotive Technology program from JoAnn Hunter valued at $2,000.

IVCCD Chancellor Kristie Fisher said that the District is delighted with all of the donations. “These donations to our career and technical education programs demonstrate what great partnerships we have with our local businesses and industries.”

Community/College ESL program explained

Kate Ferraro, ECC Adult Literacy ESL HSED Instructor, gave the Board an overview of the current English as a Second Language/ESL courses available at ECC and shared information about future academic ESL courses. Ferraro teaches “Community ESL” classes (not graded) open to anyone interested in improving his/her English language skills. The two courses (one in the morning and the other in the evening) meet six hours a week through the fall and spring semesters. Community ESL students focus on the elements of day-to-day English: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. “We focus on skills to make their lives easier.”

Ferraro is planning to instruct a new experimental ECC ESL course in Spring 2020 for college students whose native language is not English, primarily international students. ECC’s goal is to develop a one-year “bridge program” for international students that will be rolled out formally next fall, once approvals are received at the state and federal levels.

“Some of ECC’s international students enroll and are successful in the College Prep I and II developmental courses, and then they advance to Composition I and II,” Ferraro explained. “The challenge for other international students is that the College Prep classes are designed with an assumption that the class participants are native English speakers, which many international students are not. Those students really need a language transition program with intensive coursework focused on language acquisition, grammar, and U.S. cultural practices. The new academic ESL classes would focus on preparing non-native students to succeed in an American academic setting,” Ferraro explained. “Topics would include increasing formal writing proficiency, how to participate in class, suitable vocabulary for a given situation (like a science lab report or research paper), and formal grammatical rules. After a year of rigorous ESL coursework, the international students would be ready for college-level classes.”

Additional information about the new “bridge program” at ECC will be released once the program has been approved.

The next regular meeting of the IVCCD Board will be Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 4 pm at the IVCCD District Administration Building on the southwest corner of the Iowa Valley/MCC campus, 3702 S. Center St., Marshalltown.

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