November 20, 2019

KCC board votes to move all Roscommon classes to Grayling

Plans to build third building in Grayling to accommodate, close Roscommon campus

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GRAYLING — After years of speculation, the Kirtland Community College Board of Trustees put the final nail in the coffin of its Roscommon campus June 20, voting 6-0 to construct a third building on its new Grayling campus and move all programming there from Roscommon.

Trustee David Patterson abstained from the vote, saying as a new board member, he didn’t feel he was informed enough to make a decision. Patterson was elected to the board in November 2018.

According to the resolution that was approved at the meeting, the vote authorizes the administration to construct a third building on the Grayling campus not to exceed $17 million. It authorizes up to $6 million of reserve funds and up to $11 million in bonds for the construction.

The resolution also authorizes the college to “move all existing programs and services from the Roscommon campus to the Grayling campus upon completion of construction,” and to “list for sale the marketable buildings and land on the Roscommon and West Branch campuses.”

According to a press release from the college issued immediately after the vote, construction of the new building is expected to begin next spring, with the new space to be ready for use in the fall of 2021. At that time, programming will be moved from Roscommon to Grayling.

“In the interim, college leadership and board will determine the feasibility of long-term solutions for the Roscommon campus, including its potential sale,” the release states.

College officials have been asked many times since the announcement of the Grayling campus what the future of the Roscommon campus was, and officials have been noncommittal with their answers. During last month’s board meeting, KCC President Tom Quinn was asked specifically if the remaining programs in Roscommon would eventually be moved to Grayling.

“We don’t know the answer to that,” Quinn said at that time. “It’s under consideration.”

The decision also sets the apparent fate of the failed West Branch campus, which has not been used for classes since 2017. In January Quinn held a meeting at the West Branch location with community members — only a handful attended — looking for ideas for uses for the campus. However, the same day Quinn reportedly told Otsego County commissioners that the meeting was to inform the public that the West Branch campus would be closed, according to an article in the Gaylord Herald Times.

In the press release, Quinn said the decision was not taken lightly.

“For decades the Roscommon campus has been a cherished place, and the decision to transition out has been taken very seriously,” Quinn said in the release. “With dwindling enrollment, soaring maintenance and operational costs and inadequate shops and laboratories at Roscommon, we are not able to responsibly invest in the campus long-term. Our Grayling campus, on the other hand, which was built just three years ago, offers an optimal learning environment with lower capital improvement and operational costs. We are excited to begin the next phase, knowing we’re providing the very best opportunity for our students.”

The release goes on to say that students enrolled in criminal justice, the police academy, auto tech and art will continue to take classes in Roscommon until fall 2021.

“Students and faculty will have full support and resources during the transitional period,” the release states.

More information will be reported as it becomes available.

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denny

The sad part about this article, we knew it was coming, is that Ogemaw County residents are on the hook to 'fund' a new campus building in Crawford County. Why are we giving our tax millage for this? KCC has lost my confidence for their use of our dollars.

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