Bill allows for big upgrades to LMC

Published 10:46 am Monday, December 21, 2015

Last week, the Michigan Senate passed legislation bringing a $17 million dollar renovation project to Lake Michigan Community College in Berrien County.

Since 2006, Lake Michigan College has pushed for the means to restore and upgrade the 307,997 sq. ft. Napier Avenue Campus academic facility, a 45-year-old facility. The project would renovate 50 classrooms and two lecture halls, create a new service center to assist faculty with redesigned curricula, create new collaborative learning and engagement spaces, provide a Career and Transfer Center and Student Success Center, and more.

Under State Rep. Al Pscholka’s bill, HB 4095, the state would provide half the funding, or $8.5 million, from the State Building Authority through the capital outlay process. Capital outlay projects are appropriations specifically geared toward the improvement, restoration, or renovation of state-supported universities, community colleges and other agencies.

“This project has been a long time coming,” said Rep. Pscholka, R-Stevensville. “My staff and I have been working on this issue all of my five years in the Legislature, and the college itself has been seeking the money since 2006.”

For his final term in the state house, Rep. Pscholka took over as chair of the House Appropriations Committee, a position that has helped him to focus dollars in areas of great need and earned attention.

“This project will mean better educational opportunities for Southwest Michigan students at an already exceptional institution,” Rep. Pscholka said. “I’m proud to get Lake Michigan College the dollars they need to train future generations for lifetime success.”

Rep. Pscholka said Lake Michigan College last received state funding for building purposes in 2001, and has historically received less funding compared to other colleges and universities.

“Lake Michigan College was recently rated by Standard & Poor’s with a credit rating of AA+, the highest rated community college in our state,” Rep. Pscholka said. “Considering how much the public sector at large struggled through the recession, this is a phenomenal accomplishment. These are the kinds of institutions we should be investing in; well-managed, proven success stories that know the value of each and every dollar.”

LMC President Bob Harrison said he’s eager to get the renovation underway.

“I’m grateful to Rep. Pscholka and his staff for their ongoing work to secure this funding,” said President Harrison. “Thanks to their efforts, we will be able to expand and bring further educational enrichment to our students and future generations in Southwest Michigan.”

HB 4095 now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for consideration and signature.