Residing in Masterson Hall and the Allen County Community College duplexes will be a bit more expensive starting in the fall.
College trustees, in their regular monthly meeting Thursday, approved a $750 per year increase in housing fees for students residing in Masterson and the duplexes.
The higher rates will allow the students to eat as many as five meals a week at the ACCC cafeteria. Up to now, those students were not allowed to eat at the cafeteria.
Randy Weber, vice president for student affairs, told trustees that adding the meal plan to the rental agreements for those housing units ensures that the students have access to at least a few healthier meals during the week.
The proposal came about after discussions with coaches and other college officials, Weber said.
The higher fees put Masterson and duplex residents in line with those paid for students staying in Horton and Winter Halls. Students in those dormitories, however, can eat as many as 17 times each week in the cafeteria, compared to the five for the Masterson and duplex residents.
The duplexes and Masterson have other “creature comforts” not available at Winter and Horton, such as spacious living rooms.
College President John Masterson — for whom Masterson Hall was named — expressed some reservations about the plan, most prominently that the drive to include meals for the Masterson Hall and duplex residents was not student-driven.
Masterson also stressed the importance of having the logistics in place to ensure adding the students occurs seamlessly.
Weber said the idea receiving the most attention is a card distribution plan, in which students receive a card each week, good for five trips to the cafeteria.
One drawback: if the student loses the card, he cannot eat at the cafeteria until the following Monday.
“I don’t know if I like making one of our students go hungry” if he has paid for the card, Trustee Spencer Ambler said.
Weber said that qualm had been voiced, but said a lost meal card could become a prime teaching opportunity on the importance of personal responsibility.
Weber added that most students expressed only one concern — that they could pay for their rent by using federal Pell Grant monies (they can.)
Even with his reservations, Masterson said including the meals is healthier for the students.
“If I were a student, I’d probably fuss, but as a parent, I’d love it,” Masterson said.
In the end, trustees approved the higher rates on a 5-1 vote. Trustee Jim Talkington abstained from voting because his wife, Staci, is the college’s food service director. His abstention counted as a “no” vote.
Trustees previously approved hikes in rental fees for Horton and Winter Halls. Rent there also is $4,350 a year.
ART TEACHER Steven Greenwall will retire at the end of the school year. The trustees approved Greenwall’s participation in the college’s early retirement program.
Trustees also hired Mark James as the head women’s basketball coach and accepted the resignations of Heather Johnson, an assistant cheereader and basektball coach, and Rick Bevard, a custodian and maintenance employee.
THE COLLEGE will spend $31,364 to install a fence around the soccer field.
Trustees approved the expenditure, one of the centerpieces to the soccer field’s upgrade.
The black vinyl chain link fence will be erected after a new dugout area is built at the soccer field this spring, said Weber, who also is ACCC’s athletic director.
The dugouts will cost the college about $13,000 and is being built by Iolan Keith Gurwell. Nathan Ellis also will assist with the dugout construction.
Trustees received several bids for the fences that varied on the strength of the fence’s frame and the vinyl fencing. They accepted a bid from Midland Fence of Emporia to install the sturdiest frame and thickest fencing listed. The $31,364 bid was only slightly higher than the prices for the less sturdy options and the less expensive of two bids with those exact specifications.
The bid was accepted on a 4-2 vote, with Talkington and Harvey Rogers opposed.
“My concern is with the aesthetics,” Talkington said. “I don’t want a fence in our front yard.”