Planners to map NPC's future facilities needs

HOLBROOK - The Navajo County Community College District Governing Board authorized development of a long-range master plan for Northland Pioneer College facilities during its regular monthly meeting Dec. 18.

The DLR Group of Phoenix will be guiding the master plan's development. The national firm, with ties to Arizona since 1910, was one of three respondents seeking to help NPC with its long-term planning.

"DLR will put together a master facilities plan, following comprehensive discussions with the various communities and college staff, and an evaluation of existing facility usage. This will be a significant investment in the future of NPC," said Blaine Hatch, NPC's vice president for administrative services.

Board members accepted a screening committee's recommendation and authorized Hatch to proceed with negotiations with DLR regarding the scope of the project. The firm recently captured several national design awards for work done for Yavapai College in Prescott and Chino Valley.

In other action, the board agreed to use the Flagstaff law firm of Mangum, Wall, Stoops & Warden, PLLC for matters not covered under a pre-paid legal services program through the Arizona State Risk Retention Trust. The agreement does not preclude NPC from using specialized legal counsel if needed.

The board also agreed to establish a consent agenda for routine items and to return to using a study session to provide background and informational items to the board. The new process will be used starting with the Jan. 15 meeting. The consent agenda allows one motion to approve numerous routine items. Board members can ask to remove an item from the consent agenda if additional discussion is needed.

A continuing agreement to provide dual enrollment courses at the Kayenta Unified School District was also approved.

Several major curriculum changes, to go into effect in the fall semester, were presented as information to the board. Revisions will be made to the emergency medical technician (EMT), therapeutic massage program (TMP) and computer information services (CIS) program.

Core requirements in TMP were increased from 22 to 32 credits to reflect the additional 200 hours now required for state licensure. Seven new courses were added and four were deleted.

Changes in the CIS program removed outdated courses, renumbered courses in the graphic design area, and placed a new emphasis on web page development skills. Duplicate CIS and business course offerings were also removed.

Five new courses were approved to revamp and expand the EMT program. A new "Introduction to Structured English Immersion - Augmented" course was added in the education department.

Two additional speech and theatre course options were added to the arts and humanities general education electives - "Introduction to Film" and "History of Television."

At a previous meeting, board members had requested additional information for providing automotive instruction. Eric Henderson, vice president for learning, explained that over the three years the program has been offered, the cost averages $8,756 per full-time student equivalency.

Since its inception in 2005-06, the program has been limited to Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT) students. In 2005-2006, the program was offered solely at Show Low High School. In 2006-2007, the program was expanded to include Joseph City High School. This year, the program is operating only from a small leased facility in the Show Low Industrial Park.

NAVIT provides half the cost, with NPC picking up the balance of the program cost. Henderson and Hatch will be looking at possible facilities needed to expand and open the training to adults later this month in both the north and south ends of the county.

NPC President Jeanne Swarthout briefed the board on progress at the Northeast Arizona Training Center (NATC) in Taylor. A new planning and operations coordinator has been hired and is funded by Navajo County.

Several projects are pending to make the multi-agency emergency training facility operational.

Hatch updated the board on discussions between the Navajo County School Employees Benefit Trust, NPC's current health insurance consortium, and the Arizona School Board Association Insurance Trust (ASBAIT). If the local trust and NPC were to partner with ASBAIT cost increases may be reduced and benefit plan options may be enhanced.

Hatch also presented the financial report for the first third of the fiscal year through October, showing revenue and expenditures at or near anticipated levels.

Human Resources Director Troy Eagar reported 54 positions have been filled since June and that progress is being made on filling the current 12 vacancies. NPC is in compliance with the new Arizona Employer Sanctions Law, that became effective Jan. 1 and is using E-Verify to check citizenship status of all employees.

Swarthout updated the board on the joint meeting Jan. 17 with the Apache County Higher Education Committee, and the planned helicopter tour provided by Salt River Project of southern Apache County facilities.

Over 600 people and 250 youngsters under the age of six participated in the NPC/Native Air Toy Drive on Dec. 15 at the Whiteriver Center. NPC campuses and centers had a "friendly" competition to raise toys for the drive. Swarthout and Whiteriver Center Manager Stephanie Holliday will be cooking a special lunch for the employees at the winning Silver Creek Campus, who contributed 75 toys to the drive.

NPC Classified and Administrative Support Organization President Rose Kreher read the application letter from CASO scholarship winner Claudell M. Tacheene, who is pursuing an associate's degree at NPC and plans to further his studies with a bachelor's degree in film-making. CASO awards at least two scholarships annually, with funds raised through payroll deductions, silent auctions and other fund-raisers.

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