Gun bill, new sports complex discussed at GCCC trustees meeting




The Garden City Community College Board of Trustees on Tuesday adopted a resolution exempting GCCC from requirements outlined in the recently passed Kansas gun bill, heard from opponents and proponents of a tobacco-free campus proposal, and approved a finance agreement for a multi-sport athletic facility.

The board voted to adopt a resolution exempting GCCC from requirements outlined in the Kansas gun bill, HB 2052, that takes effect July 1. The exemption excludes the concealed carry of firearms into campus buildings until Jan. 1, 2018. The resolution was passed on a 4-1 vote, with Trustee Steve Sterling opposing. Jeff Crist was absent.

The new law modifies the Personal and Family Protection Act to allow the possession of firearms on some governmental property, including postsecondary educational institutions. The carrying of concealed handguns cannot be prohibited by these entities unless their facilities have adequate security measures at public entrances to ensure that no weapons are permitted into buildings. There must also be signs posted conspicuously in the buildings where firearms are not allowed. Additionally, the law allows licensed employees to carry concealed handguns at the workplace.

The exemption period will be used by college staff to determine the college's best interest in relation to the law and to research the implications of ensuring adequate security measures, such as acquiring, installing, operating and maintaining the security systems. GCCC must report the results of the comprehensive study to the Kansas Attorney General by July 1, 2016, according to Randy Grisell, college attorney.

In other business, the Student Government Association presented its tobacco-free campus proposal to trustees, but no action was taken.

The proposal, in part, states that "Tobacco use is prohibited at all times in all areas of GCCC, including the following: enclosed facilities, outside property or grounds and any GCCC equipment, including vehicles."

The proposal outlines specific enforcement recommendations and increasingly harsh disciplinary actions for repeat offenders, including both students and employees. Suggested disciplinary actions gradually increase from first offense warnings to final offense actions that include expulsion for students and termination for employees.

SGA President Brevan Woydziak said the policy was modeled after Oklahoma State University's policy with influence from other Kansas community college policies. He also said adherence to the policy would rely primarily upon self-enforcement.

Linda Morgan, outgoing faculty senate president, said the faculty senate was not approached during the 2012-13 school year by SGA for input into the proposal, and she raised a number of concerns about the policy, shared by other faculty members. One of the concerns was that there are already state laws and city ordinances in place to deal with tobacco use on public property.

"Both of those entities have a system in place to handle those violations, to handle appeals, and to handle those kinds of issues. We don't have a system on this campus, so if somebody did want to appeal, they would have nowhere to go. The harshness of some of the penalties that come down for students and employees, and for our visitors, are severe without having a method of (appealing)," Morgan said.

Morgan offered recommendations, on behalf of faculty, to limit tobacco-use on campus to three or four designated areas less visible to the public, to provide appropriate depository devices or trash cans, to clearly designate signage, and to continue to provide information and programs on health issues concerning tobacco use.

Douglass said the board was not prepared to vote on the policy.

"We need more time to look over it and discuss it," she said.

The trustees also approved a lease-purchase finance agreement with First Security Finance Inc., of Arkansas, in the amount of $2.6 million at an interest rate of 2.69 percent for a multi-sport athletic facility on Spruce Street. Semi-annual payments of $148,926.14 will be made from the general fund.

Trustees approved a base bid of $2,260,340 from Hellas Sports Construction of Austin, Texas, in April, for making enhancements to the area, including replacement of the existing track with an eight-lane collegiate track and the addition of a field for football and women's soccer. In addition, the area will provide a venue for student intramural activities and will be open for the community to walk and exercise during posted hours.

In consent agenda action, trustees approved the addition of an "e-layer," to the field and seating.

The "e-layer" enhances safety and durability of the field. GCCC President Herbert Swender said the reason the layer wasn't included in the original request for proposals is because it's proprietary to the fields installed by Hellas. He said the "e-layer" will deliver better drainage and add approximately three years of life to the field. The cost is $163,101.38.

Trustee Bill Clifford said he was in favor of anything that promotes the safety of GCCC athletes.

In addition, Swender requested the addition of comfortable seating at a cost of $77,633.50. He said that the college has initiated a campaign for donations to offset the cost of the seating.

The board also approved the hiring of the following personnel: Cole Dewey, Super Circuit/men's basketball assistant coach; Doug Kelley, assistant cross country/track and field coach; Nick Salazar, head women's basketball coach; and Harvey Sanders, head women's volleyball coach.

Trustees went into three separate closed sessions with Swender, Grisell and GCCC Executive Vice President Dee Wigner also present. No action was taken following the sessions.

The next monthly meeting of the trustees is set for 6 p.m. July 9 in the Endowment Room of the Beth Tedrow Student Center.

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