April 21, 2024


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Improvement projects moving ahead at OCtech | Local

The Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Area Commission received a progress report on projects to improve the campus environment.

OCtech Vice President of Finance Kim Huff said during his report on June 21 that the college has four projects either in progress or to kick off. 

“We should have the packet ready to advertise, I think, next week for the new sign out front. Second project is the move of our machine-tool program down to Building T. … We’re going to have to rethink and maybe even change the scope somewhat and put it up to where there’s an electrical component or a mechanical component,” Huff said.

“So that’s going to take us a little bit of time to kind of sort through that with the architect and design professionals to figure out how to get that back out to bid again,” he said.

The college’s two other projects include renovation of the Health Sciences Building. Mechanical and electrical upgrades, including HVAC replacements, are among the work to be done at the Health Sciences Building. Building K was built in 1987.

“I’ve got a proposal back from the architect this past week. Spent some time even on the phone today with them,” Huff said, anticipating the signing of a contract.

The college is also waiting to proceed with the renovation of Building S’s downstairs into a student learning/commons area.

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“We have signed the contract with the architect for that. We have our first kickoff meeting next week with them. The majority of that is going to be the renovation of the kitchen area in the back and then changing some of that big open area to where it’s even more appealing to students to come in and hang out and study,” Huff said.

Huff also delivered a May finance report. The college reported revenue of $18,976,905 million at the end of May, with expenses standing at $17,868,976.

“For the fall, spring and summer, our enrollment was down. We were below what we had budgeted for our tuition. You can see that reflected in this report, but what you’ll also see is there’s some other revenue to help offset some of that, or even some savings in expenses,” Huff said.

“So with the federal money that we have, and with the savings that we have in vacancies and some of the other things, we’re able to cover those shortfalls in our revenue for the year. So we feel OK about this fiscal year,” he said.

Huff said the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds end June 30, 2023.

“So we do have one more year of funding available. That’s going to help us a lot with our budget for next year, as well,” he said.

OCtech has focus on filling staff vacancies, adding students

Huff also reported some vacancies, including two with campus police area and two in the physical plant, with another vacancy coming with the retirement of longtime bookstore manager Kathy Hightower after more than 40 years of service.

President’s report 

President Dr. Walt Tobin reported that the OCtech Foundation’s Home and Garden Symposium on May 11 raised approximately $28,000, with numbers still coming in.

Also during his report, he said he, along with the new director and two support staff members from the college’s Early College program, would be attending a conference in Portland, Oregon.

“The candidates that we’ve got coming on and just the sheer number and volume of dually enrolled students, I thought it was important for them to be a part of an event where they’re hearing from folks around the country in terms of what they’re doing in regards to doing it well,” Tobin said.

He said the college, along with the other technical colleges across the state, is also working on initiatives focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Not only are the colleges focusing on this notion of equitable outcomes for minorities, the system office is taking somewhat of a lead in helping addressing it,” he said.

Academic report

OCtech Vice President of Academic Affairs Williette Berry reported that the college hired an instructor, interventionist and adviser for the college’s Early College program.

“We still have the CNA instructor, the bio/biomedical instructor, mechatronics instructor and the engineering technology instructor under the temporary grants that have been posted with no action,” she said.

She said the college is preparing to interview a candidate to serve as a criminal justice instructor.

“Both of our admins for nursing and health science are retiring. So we’ve posted those two positions for administrative specialists, and then we have one nursing instructor position that has been posted,” she said.

Student services

OCtech Vice President for Student Services Dr. Sandra Davis reported no vacancies in the student services division and that the college had started its last summer series of classes on June 20.

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“We are gearing up for our summer graduation,” she said, with two ceremonies to take place on Thursday, July 28, in the R Building auditorium. One ceremony is at 3 p.m. and the other is at 5 p.m.

“We’re continuing to register students for the fall semester. Our fall semester classes will begin on Aug. 15,” she said.

Other business

OCtech addressing enrollment dip, tuition shortfall

  • Area commissioners approved the following new programs as presented by Berry: associate in applied science degree in emergency medical tehnology at 74 credit hours; advanced emergency medical technician certificate at 31 credit hours; and introduction to engineering technology certificate at 13 credit hours.
  • Area commissioners approved the review of three policies, including one which stipulates that all debts to the college, including parking fines, overdue books and unpaid tuition and fees, must be paid in full before transcripts or diplomas are released. Also, the commission approved the two policy revisions.

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