ACCC aims to curb speeders

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Students are taking a few too many liberties with their driving habits now that Allen County Community College has a newly rebuilt parking lot.
On far too many occasions, Randy Weber, dean of student affairs, has spotted students racing through the parking lot at unsafe speeds and disregarding stop signs posted in the parking lot.
Weber told ACCC trustees Thursday about one recent afternoon when a group of students raced through the parking lot in excess of 40 mph, well above the lot’s speed limit of 20 mph.
Warnings to the students have gone mostly unheeded, Weber said.
“It seems like the best way to get their attention is to have police start writing tickets,” Weber said. “Nothing else seems to work.”
Parking lot driving sparked a debate among trustees about whether the parking lot’s rules should be revamped, more signage should be posted or whether any actions are futile.
Steve Troxel, vice president for finance and operations, noted that the campus has no signage indicating the 20 mph speed zones.
College President John Masterson noted the problem has been exacerbated because crews removed grassy islands from between parking stalls throughout the parking lot when it was resurfaced, giving students more freedom to reach unsafe speeds.
Trustee Jim Talkington wondered whether the extra signage or patrols will realize any benefits and if a yield sign be an improvement.
“We’ve got a stop sign up there now and they ignore it,” he said. “I don’t know how it’s (putting up speed limit signs) enforceable.”

TRUSTEES also discussed the college’s options regarding its ongoing dispute with Custom Energy, which installed a new climate control system in 2006, with the thought that the new system would be paid for with savings through lower utility bills.
Those lower utility bills have yet to be realized — estimates are as much as an $800,000 difference by the end of 10 years — leading to the dispute in the college’s energy performance contract with the Overland Park-based firm.
Custom Energy officials insist their work was done to specifications and that the savings have not been realized because the college has not properly controlled the system. The college, meanwhile, insists that the system’s operations were spelled out by Custom Energy when it was installed, and that college employees have followed their protocols to no avail.
Troxel wondered if mediation through the state should be the college’s next avenue.
Masterson noted that the college has the right to take Custom Energy to court, but legal fees would make that option a costly one.
“I don’t understand why Custom Energy has taken this approach,” Troxel said. “This is certainly something the state needs to review.”

JOHN MARSHALL, vice president for academic affairs, Ryan Bilderback, adult education coordinator, and a team of instructors and administrators visited at length with trustees about the college’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), a new avenue ACCC is following in order to remain accredited.
The AQIP system involves three basic tenets, Marshall explained, active projects, a new system portfolio and a constant stream of quality checkups.
Unlike the college’s previous accreditation system, AQIP requires a more consistent level of strategic planning.
“The old way, we were looking backward to become accredited,” he said. “With this way, we’re looking forward.”
The centerpiece is the college’s system portfolio, which details everything from understanding students’ needs to esuring the college has a line-of-succession process in case a long-time instructor or college administrator leaves his position.