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South Arkansas Community College Board personnel and planning committee chair Gary Griffis presented a recommendation to award college President Barbara Jones a 3 percent raise at a meeting Tuesday.

The decision was made after a performance review conducted by the board at its annual retreat and follow-up meetings by the committee, Griffis said.

According to a previous News-Times report, Jones received a $6,000 salary increase totaling to $192,292 for the 2016-2017 academic year.

“It’s in two components,” Griffis said. “One component is a 1.5 percent to the annual salary retro to July 1, the beginning of this year, and then a one-time merit adjustment that is based upon the annual salary as of June 30.”

Though José Covas and Kerri Brown voted in opposition, the board voted to approve the personnel and planning committee’s recommendation. The board also considered Jones’ goals and the college’s strategic plan during the performance review and both documents were approved.

According to a marketing report by El Dorado Conference Center director Barry Bagwell, the venue hosted 111 events in the second quarter.

Finances at the conference center are “roughly the same” even though last quarter’s performance is reported about 60 percent higher than the same time period last year. Revenues over expenditures for the event venue should level off around $300,000, administration/finance vice president Carey Tucker said.

The Conference Center is also in negotiation with Valley Services to renew its contract with the college as its food service provider. Tucker said that the college anticipates getting a signed contract this week.

Excess year-to-date revenues over expenditures as of Aug. 31 are over $1.5 million. While student enrollment numbers decrease, revenue has gone up due to an increase in student semester credit hours taken by students.

“Expenses are slightly above last year’s, but that’s okay and we’re pretty much on target when it comes to spending and receiving funds. With our budget, Dr. Jones told you that we had a very conservative approach,” Tucker said.

The college’s Physical Plant department is busy at work with the McWilliams House renovation and Charles A. Hays Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) construction project, he said.

According to previous News-Times reports, the AMTC will house classes for the industrial technology, advanced welding and process technology programs. The college is also looking into the feasibility of a Certified Machinist program, provost Jim Bullock wrote in a board report.

The storage building has been moved and new fencing has been installed at the McWilliams House. Once Entergy installs a new utility pole, the renovation can be completed, according to Tucker’s board report.

“Over at the AMTC, we’ve got the rail … The crane that we were going to use for the rail car got called away for use near Houston. It’s understandable so we’re still waiting for the rail car to be put in place,” Tucker said. “We’re expecting the metal building I think at the end of this month or the early part of next month to start the framing. That’s kind of the next big thing as far as construction goes.”

Jones said that the college is making arrangements with the contractor to retrieve a crane from another location by the end of the month. The AMTC’s building pad is complete. Site utilities are at 60 percent and site grading is 85 percent complete, according to Tucker’s written report.

The administration/finance vice president also wrote that SouthArk is accepting bids through CADM Architecture “for electric signage and lighting for the East Campus.”

The SouthArk Board of Trustees’ next meeting is scheduled at 3:45 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Center for Workforce Development, located on the East Campus.

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