Alamance Community College’s trustees have voted unanimously to approve a $1.2 million one-year contract with Aramark to manage custodial services and building maintenance at ACC’s main campus in Graham and the Dillingham Center in Burlington.
The $1.2 million contract is an extension of a three-year contract that ACC’s trustees previously awarded to Aramark in 2018, which included an option to renew for two additional one-year terms.
While Aramark has provided facilities management and custodial services to ACC for nearly three decades, the college issued a Request for Proposals in June 2018, as required by state rules that govern contracts exceeding $1 million. ACC received four proposals from Aramark and three other vendors, whose proposals were ranked, using multiple criteria; Aramark received the highest ranking by the trustees’ building and grounds committee and was subsequently awarded the contract by the trustee board in August 2018.
Starting next month, ACC’s annual cost for its contract with Aramark will increase by about 3 percent, or by about $35,000 per year. The terms of the 2018 contract with Aramark allowed for an annual price adjustment based on the latest Consumer Price Index, which rose by 5.6 percent in 2020, ACC’s trustees were told during Monday night.
ACC’s trustees subsequently voted 10-0 Monday night to approve the contract extension, effective through October 2022, when they will likely be asked to consider a second one-year extension. Trustees Steve Carter and Craig Thompson were absent.
The community college plans to issue another RFP for facilities and custodial services in the spring of 2023, the trustees were told during their latest meeting.
In other business, ACC’s trustees also voted 10-0 this week to approve two small building repair projects. Those projects include: Replacement of a 1970s-era generator that currently powers a walk-in cooler and freezer for the Culinary department and the food service area in the Main Building during power outages, for an estimated cost of $75,000; and a drainage repair project in a parking area near the Gee Building, estimated to cost $140,000. Both repairs will be funded by existing annual county capital funding, according to ACC trustee Blake Williams, who serves as chairman of the building and grounds committee.
The trustees, however, delayed voting this week on a proposal to double the existing student activity fee of $15 per semester to cover ACC’s expenses for instructional technology; campus parking and security; and student activities such as the Student Government Association.
ACC’s trustees had been asked last month to consider increasing the student activity fee from $15 to $30 per semester, starting in the spring of 2022.
ACC currently charges one of the lowest student activity fees among community colleges in the region, trustee and chairman of the budget and finance committee Carl Steinbicker said during the initial discussion.
The student activity fee has remained unchanged since 1999, according to associate vice president of business and finance Christopher “CD” Crepps, a former finance director for Montgomery County, who took over in August as the new chief finance officer for ACC.
Crepps’ predecessor, former CFO Matt Banko, told the trustees this spring that ACC’s expenses for such things as instructional technology and defending against cyber-attacks have increased dramatically in recent years.
Trustees to break ground on student services center
In other business, ACC officials have scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony on October 22 to kick off construction of a $6.7 million student services center that will be built along the front of the college’s main campus in Graham, facing Jimmie Kerr Road.
In August of this year, ACC officials requested – and Alamance County’s commissioners approved – a $2.4 million “advance” toward the costs for construction, due to overruns that have been attributed to widespread supply chain disruptions and labor shortages that have affected construction projects throughout the U.S. Construction of the student services center will be funded by a portion of the proceeds from the $39.6 million bond package voters approved for ACC in November 2018.
The two-story, 27,400-square-foot student services center is planned for the site of an existing parking lot between the Powell Building and Literacy Building, based on preliminary design plans the trustees reviewed earlier this year. The building, which is being designed by FWA Group of Charlotte, would house seven academic departments and business services that are currently housed in the Main and Gee buildings on the Graham campus.
Construction of the student services center is tentatively scheduled to begin later this fall and is targeted for completion by September 2022.
ACC trustees held their latest meeting via the Zoom online teleconferencing platform due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.