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Final Scope of Facilities Plan Approved

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FVTC Board Approves College’s Recommendation for Overall Facilities Plan

Scope and Costs of Projects Finalized to Address Employer Needs for Referendum Vote in April

The Fox Valley Technical College Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of an administration recommendation to advance the college’s facility expansion plans. The $66.5 million project package is set for a public referendum vote on April 3 across the nine counties that make up the college’s service area.

The board’s final approval of the facilities package is the result of an extensive process that has been conducted by college officials during the past four years, with some of the project planning efforts dating back to 2006. Project possibilities and costs initially ranged between $65 and $85 million during more recent analysis by the board. The trustees’ support for advancing a $66.5 million project package, if ultimately approved by the public, would enable the college to borrow the necessary funds over a two-year period to complete the various projects.

“The board clearly understands the college’s attentiveness to the needs of our region’s workforce,” states Bill Fitzpatrick, chairperson of the FVTC Board of Trustees. “Both the college administration and the board have exercised sound diligence in devising a viable and financially-responsible facility expansion plan that would address the needs of this region now, and for many years to come.”

Expansion of key facilities will allow FVTC to address capacity challenges that directly impact the needs of regional employers. These facilities at FVTC include public safety, health care, transportation, agriculture, and basic skills, in addition to two regional initiatives in Oshkosh and Chilton.

Proposed land acquisition in Oshkosh next to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) on Highway 41 would allow for future campus expansion and the flexibility to respond to key industry needs with facilities similar to the AMTC. A small addition is being planned for the college’s regional center in Chilton, specifically a health science lab, as well as the purchase of that facility.

Significant factors driving FVTC’s advancement of this plan include a 30% enrollment increase over the past three years, serving a record 53,000 people in 2010-11, and an ever-increasing demand for employees with technical skills. In addition, the college is responding to needs from the health care and public safety industries, as well as many others, for continuing education and specialized training. The result will enhance best practices by workers in these fields and provide more in-depth hands-on training, making these experiences as realistic as possible.

For example, the new Public Safety Training Center would offer high-tech indoor and outdoor rifle and pistol ranges, an emergency vehicle driving range, a multi-purpose “mock” village, forensic labs and crimes scene rooms, an enhanced defensive tactics setting, a live burn tower with various live fire props, and more.

Enrollment in FVTC’s Criminal Justice programs alone has increased nearly 60% over the past three years, and the Fire Protection program is currently capped because of capacity limits. The college is nationally renowned in the public safety arena, recognized for its efforts with AMBER Alert training, training support for the prevention of Internet Crimes Against Children, technical training for security agents, and forensic and evidence gathering, to name a few. Many of the specialized training sessions facilitated by the college bring in law enforcement practitioners from around the state and across the country, not only paying for these training services, but contributing dollars into the local economy.

In the health care sector, local industry forecasts a growing need for registered nurses and medical professionals due to increased demands and an aging labor supply. Area health care providers rely on FVTC for producing many of their entry level employees, as well as assisting with the continuing education of their current staff members.

FVTC’s commitment to technology is helping pave the way for such training efforts. There is an emerging focus on interdisciplinary health care education through the use of human patient simulators, and FVTC uses this technology to bring real-life scenarios to the training experience. The human-like simulators serve as best practice tools in the integration of several emergency and health occupations that can train together, most notably paramedics, police officers, firefighters, and nurses.

Dan Neufelder, president and CEO of Affinity Health System, recognizes FVTC’s vital role in providing skilled caregivers for local health care organizations. “Fox Valley Technical College is a valued resource in our community thanks to exceptional training resources,” states Neufelder. “The college’s ability to stay aligned with the changing needs of our health care community speaks volumes about its commitment to technology and best practices. Affinity Health System is fortunate to have a leader in cross-disciplinary health care training right in our community.”

The estimated impact on taxpayers for the $66.5 million referendum covering all seven plans would be about $1.00 a month for owners of property valued at $100,000. Overall, the proposed projects would involve just over $1.5 million in annual operating costs, but those expenses would be offset by three sources totaling near $1 million: increased share of state aid, savings from terminated leases and utilities, and public safety contract revenue.

The balance would be incorporated into the college’s overall operating budget over the next three years, similar to new initiatives pursued every year. Consequently, there would be no additional tax impact attributed to the new operating expenses of the facilities.

The cost of equipment and remodeling associated with the expansion plans would be built into the college’s annual capital borrowing plan over a four-year period with a financing structure that also results in no additional tax impact.

Technical education and training continue to emerge as a foundation to fuel a skills-based economy. On average, 90% of FVTC’s graduates are landing jobs in the workforce within six months of graduation. As the college continues to align its services with an evolving economy, it is well-positioned to train skilled professionals to fit jobs calling for advanced skills.

“Our community and our workforce need to grow in alignment with the new skill requirements of this economy, and it is certainly shaping up as a skills-based economy,” states Dr. Susan May, president of Fox Valley Technical College. “Our vital role in training skilled professionals to fit these immediate jobs and long-term careers was evident in a recent community perception survey. For any organization today, it must move forward. There is no status quo if you’re going to be effective in fulfilling your mission and achieving your vision. We look forward to helping this community and this region grow the economy, career opportunities, and overall quality of life. Putting facilities like this in play can make that kind of difference.”

LEARN MORE>>> about FVTC’s facility expansion plans and the April 3 public referendum vote.