One man talks to people listening
President Loope addresses Beaufort County administrators and commissioners.

BCCC Requests Safety Upgrades from County Commission

Beaufort County Commissioners met with the Beaufort County Board of Trustees on April 5 to discuss annual budget requests for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The college updated the commissioners on bond-funded projects and requested the addition of a police officer for the Beaufort County Early College High School (BCECHS), housed on the BCCC campus, along with some safety upgrades.

BCCC President Dave Loope highlighted the benefits the college brings to the area, including putting 44 registered nurses and 19 practical nurses into workforce annually.

“Our graduates rank second among all the community colleges in the state for expected wage gains, and first in the northeast region, highlighting the benefit we bring to this area,” said Loope. In 2014-2015, the mean annual wage of a BCCC graduate was $29, 220.

Loope shared the completed accessibility project across campus, which included protected crosswalks, sidewalks, push-button doors and elevator upgrades. The emergency services training complex, including a driving pad and classroom building, are in the final stages of planning. These projects were funded through the state Connect NC bond.

BCECHS was the focus of new requests. Of the 235 students currently enrolled in the high school, ninth, tenth and eleventh graders attend classes in Buildings 5 and 10. As Loope pointed out, these buildings were not originally intended to host high school students. Some of the classrooms in Building 5 started out as storage rooms.

The security plan would replace interior doors, reinforce glass walls and add cardkey access. The plan also calls for hiring an additional police officer who would be assigned to only Buildings 5 and 10. Due to the open nature of the college campus, the additional security features would limit access to the high school classrooms.

Other projects included replacing of outdated heating and air equipment with modern systems and converting exterior lights to LEDs. These projects would help reduce the energy use of the college. Projects such as these have helped the campus reduce its energy use by 30 percent over the last five years.

The college also asked for a two percent cost of living adjustment for county-funded positions. While the majority of the positions at the college are state-funded, counties are responsible for maintenance and security for community colleges, including positions related to those roles.

The Beaufort County Commissioners will consider these budget requests as they develop the budget for all county operations for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.