GOCC authorizes $7.7m loan for south side renovation

CENTREVILLE — Glen Oaks Community College may soon receive funding for a planned renovation to the south side of its campus.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, GOCC’s Board of Trustees authorized a $7.7 million United States Department of Agriculture loan that will be used to renovate multiple areas on the south side of the college’s campus. The loan is for 3.5 percent interest over 40 years.

Some of the significant parts of the renovation project include creating four athletic locker rooms, modifying the Nora Hagen Theater into an instructional auditorium, creating a new Allied Health lab, creating a large instructional classroom on the second floor of the D Wing, modifying spaces around the gym for offices, training and storage rooms, a new gym roof, and a new exterior wall system.

“This project, along with the nearly completed North Campus project and the recently renovated grand concourse, would complete the transformation of the 50-plus-year-old campus and position it for well into the future," GOCC President Dr. David Devier said in a statement.

During the meeting last week, Devier said planning for the renovation has recently wrapped up, and the college is “sitting on the doorstep” to begin. He said the college may be able to close on the loan within the next few weeks.

However, Devier brought up a financial wrinkle about money for the project from the state, saying a lame-duck Michigan Legislature after the November election could approve funding for all college projects submitted last year, one of them being the south side renovation at Glen Oaks.

“About that same time, we decided we probably weren’t going to get the money in a timely fashion, so we’d go ahead and pursue the USDA, which we’ve done,” Devier said. “If it comes to fruition the bill passes and is signed by the governor, you know what that means. … We’d have a decision to make.”

Devier said his greatest concern with getting the state funding approved is the possibility it would “take forever and a day” to get authorization approved by the legislature. However, he added they could still have a possibility to “use” outgoing State Sen. Kim LaSata to “perhaps expedite” the project approval.

“There’s a possibility we could expedite it before the end of this calendar year and before the end of lame duck, we get that approval of authorization to proceed. It’s a longshot, but there’s a chance,” Devier said. “If we don’t get there, it’s probably next June or July to get approval.”

Trustee Joe Haas said the college has “a friend in Lansing,” referencing LaSata, until the end of December, and then afterwards, “we won’t have any friend in either house.” He advocated trying to expedite funding from the state legislature.

“If we have a chance to have somebody in Lansing expedite this, now’s our chance,” Haas said.

Devier said while the potential action by the legislature was “pretty startling,” he “hope[s] they do it.”

The loan authorization was approved unanimously.

In other business…

  • The board approved a five-year capital outlay plan for 2024-2028, a state requirement submitted by the college every year.
  • The board heard a presentation from Rehmann, the college’s auditing firm, on the college’s annual audit. The college received a clean, unmodified opinion, with no weaknesses or deficiencies in financial reporting. The audit report was subsequently approved.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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