The Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Board of Trustees convened a meeting on Monday, December 6, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., in person and via Zoom in The Brumit Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Mr. Matt Kern, Chair, presided.
The following members of the Board participated in person: Michael Garrison, Tommy Justus, Matt Kern, David King, Judy Lewis, Roger Metcalf, John Parham, Frances Ramsey, and Bethany Duke, Ex-Officio. Trustees Theresa Banks, Joe Brumit, Himanshu Karvir, and Libby Kyles participated via Zoom. Trustee Max Queen was absent.
Others present for the meeting included: Dr. John Gossett, President; Terry Brasier, Vice President of Student Services; Shanna Chambers, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development; Amanda Edwards, Executive Director of College Advancement; Kerri Glover; Executive Director of Community Relations and Marketing; Anne Oxenreider, Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research; Beth Stewart, Vice President of Instructional Services; Brian Willis, Vice President of Information and Technology/CIO; Dirk Wilmoth, Vice President of Business and Finance/CFO; Darryl Rhymes, Director of Employment and Employee Relations; Ashley Leonard, College Attorney; and Carolyn Rice, Secretary to the Board. Deborah Wright, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development and Continuing Education participated via Zoom.
Call to Order
Chair Kern read the ethics statement. No conflicts of interest were reported. Ms. Rice called the roll, a quorum was present.
At 3:07 p.m., Chair Kern asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda.
Mr. King moved to approve Consent Agenda items: 1. A. November 1, 2021 Board Meeting Minutes, and 1. B. Personnel Actions.
The motion to approve the Consent Agenda was seconded by Dr. Parham. Trustees Banks, Brumit, Garrison, Justus, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the Consent Agenda. The motion was passed by unanimous consent.
Dr. Gossett stated that the General Assembly approved the state budget and that the North Carolina Community College System appreciates its support. A 2.5 percent raise for state employees was included in the budget, and it is expected that the increases will be retroactive to July 2021. The state budget also allowed for bonuses for our employees and we are waiting for the final details on when these will be distributed. Additionally, Dr. Gossett shared the following information:
- The Executive Leadership Team voted to use Covid relief funds to give “essential worker” bonuses to all of our employees as a thank you for everything that our employees have done to keep students enrolled and the College running smoothly during the pandemic.
- Several Trustees and two Buncombe County Commissioners toured the Haynes Tower at A-B Tech Enka. This topic will be discussed in depth later in the meeting.
- He joined Ms. Leronica Casey and Mr. Duane Adams for a taping of the WRES Radio program.
- Dr. Fairley Patton is hosting local high school counselors during Thursday Culinary lunches, in an effort to get reconnected with our education partners.
- Discussions have been held with Sherriff Miller regarding programming in Woodfin.
- Meetings have also taken place regarding offering childcare at the YMCA in Woodfin.
- Dr. Gene Loflin will lead a group from the College in a presentation at the SACSCOC Annual Conference regarding the fifth-year report.
3. A. Dr. Wilmoth provided the Board with an overview of the recently toured Haynes Building located at A-B Tech Enka. Dr. Wilmoth shared the following:
- The 100,000-plus square foot building has been vacant since 2015.
- After walking through the building, demolition was discussed as an option.
- We have a quote to demolish the building for approximately $1.4 Million. This figure does not include disconnecting utilities, the removal of asbestos, lead, hazardous materials, etc.
- It is expected to cost approximately $18 Million or more to completely renovate the Haynes building.
Chair Kern stated that the Trustees and the Commissioners who toured the building discussed what to do with the building at length and agreed that something must be done.
The Board then discussed the status and condition of the Haynes building at length including the pros and cons of sustaining or maintaining the building, the cost of maintaining an empty building, demolishing the building, and leasing the land to for-profit businesses through the Foundation, the use of Article 46 Funds to pay for either the demolition or the renovation of the Haynes building, including the needs for the TCC building also located at A-B Tech Enka.
Mr. Garrison moved that the College form a workgroup that would research all of the options for the Haynes building, including space needs, and who would bring a recommendation for the building to the Board during the February 3, 2022 meeting. The motion was seconded by Dr. Metcalf. Trustees Banks, Brumit, Garrison, Justus, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the motion, which passed by unanimous consent.
3. B. Chair Kern asked Dr. Gossett to reinstate the monthly “Updates to the Board.” The College’s Executive Leadership Team will start by sending short, bulleted updates about their areas to the Board in January 2022. Updates to the Board will subsequently be included in the monthly Board Packets.
Ms. Shanna Chambers discussed COVID, the College, and the following four topics with the Board:
- 1. Campus Response:
- A Covid Response Team was created in early March 2020. Meetings were held daily to discuss CDC recommendations, information from the North Carolina Community College System, and recommendations from the state and local governments.
- In September 2020, a small group of core employees became the “Covid Notification Team”. The team consists of Dr. Terry Brasier, Ms. Michele Hathcock, Ms. Kim England, Ms. Brianna Capps, Ms. Rachel Cutshall, and Ms. Shanna Chambers. This team meets daily and is responsible for contact tracing and health department notifications.
- Several new tools, processes, policies, and procedures were created to help mitigate the workload.
- Campus communications were streamlined and updated constantly.
- The College was able to keep all employees in a paid status. Extra financial help was also available for those who needed it.
- Ms. Patti Cameron created and instituted a process for ordering Personal Protective Equipment for the entire College. Mr. Aaron Surrett was responsible for distributing the supplies.
- 2. Community Support:
- The College has donated boxes of gloves to Mission Hospital, made gallons of hand sanitizer, and donated gowns, masks, and gloves to both Buncombe and Madison counties.
- A-B Tech nursing students helped with Covid testing.
- Covid-specific classes were developed for first responders.
- The Mountain Tech Lodge was made available to first responders, the Mission Health / A-B Tech Conference Center was turned into a Buncombe County vaccine site, A-B Tech Madison became a drive-through testing center, and testing sites were made available in the parking lot of the Allied Health building.
- 3. Impact on Campus:
- Employee Covid-related leave and employees who were told not to come to work have increased by over 1,140 percent from the start of the pandemic to today.
- Employee absenteeism has had a huge impact on employees who have to pick up extra duties, and consequently, employee morale is low.
- 4. Preparing for the Future:
- We are waiting for the pending litigation to be finalized regarding mandatory employee vaccines.
- We have learned that the importance of business continuity, emergency preparedness, adaptability, and the value of our people is key.
- An urgency has been put on creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and identifying three people to cross-train for all positions at the College.
- We have all learned to adapt to the new “normal”, embrace change, and sacrifice.
Ms. Chambers concluded her presentation by thanking the Board for all of their support during the pandemic and shared that between the Board and our amazing employees we have been able to stay ahead of the game!
Mrs. Bethany Duke, President of the Student Government Association (SGA) shared the following information with the Board:
- The SGA has held tree decorating, holiday trivia, and holiday movie events during the wind-down of the semester.
- The SGA partnered with ABCCM for a coat and blanket drive which goes through December 16.
- Phi Beta Lambda collected over 600 pounds of food which equates to 823 meals for our community! Another food drive will be conducted for the Manna Food Bank in the spring.
The November 2021-2022 Student Success Scorecard is in the Handouts.
The next Board meeting will be on Thursday, February 3, 2022, at 12:00 p.m., in The Brumit Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality.
On a motion properly made, the meeting adjourned at 4:52 p.m.
Carolyn H. Rice