IVCC hears plan to reopen fitness center in fall for noncredit use

IVCC’s center closed in April 2020 when instruction went online

The Illinois Valley Community College board’s audit finance committee Monday discussed the selection of an auditor and heard updates on emergency state and federal funding and the plan to reopen the fitness center.

The college is considering reopening its fitness center in the fall for noncredit use by athletes, teams, students, employees and retirees. The college has received feedback on fitness center operations from 17 community colleges. IVCC’s center closed in April 2020 when the pandemic forced most instruction online.

The committee also learned athletics is considering adding men’s and women’s cross country as intercollegiate sports in fall 2022 and moving all teams up to Division II within the National Junior College Athletic Association.

In a memo shared with the committee, Vice President for Student Services Mark Grzybowski and Athletic Director Cory Tomasson said Arrowhead Conference schools Carl Sandburg, Kishwaukee and Sauk Valley have cross country teams and Highland will add it this fall. The lone remaining college, Black Hawk, is considering adding it.

A survey of district high schools revealed 18-of-20 compete in boys cross country and 17-of-20 have girls teams. Rosters of 10-to-20 runners are anticipated.

“Athletics enriches the student experience and is an enrollment incentive for some who might not otherwise have considered IVCC,” Grzybowski said.

Athletics is also recommending moving all teams to Division II in 2022-23 to allow each to offer tuition waiver hours. The move would align IVCC other Arrowhead schools, make it easier for athletes to compete in more than one sport and enhance coaches’ ability to recruit, Tomasson said.

If each sport’s roster is maximized — with each athlete required to enroll in a minimum 15 hours — the net gain in tuition and fees would be nearly $160,000.

In other business, the committee recommended board approval of the proposal from Sikich, LLP for auditing services for 2021 through 2023. Year one cost is $39,500, year two $40,685, and year three $41,950.

Sikich audits more than 20 higher education institutions including several community colleges. Wipfli LLP performed the audit the previous six years.

The committee reviewed how IVCC is spending $1.3 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. As of March 31, IVCC had spent over $900,000, including $686,561 in aid to 1,087 students.

IVCC has received an additional $3.2 million in HEERF II funding and plans to spend it on student aid and academic technology and software.

The college is using $130,000 in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds to assist more than 100 students.

Finally, the business office shared fiscal 2022 budget assumptions including flat state funding.