Alamance County’s board of commissioners has agreed to allow Alamance Community College to dip into a county-controlled fund in order to expand and upgrade its training facilities for Emergency Medical Services.
During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, the commissioners voted 4-to-0 to let ACC draw $335,600 from this capital reserve fund, which serves as a piggy bank for the county’s own facilities needs as well as those of the community college and the Alamance Burlington school system.
The commissioners approved this withdrawal after they heard from ACC’s administrators about the currently substandard state of the quarters for the community college’s EMS program. The college’s president, Algie Gatewood, insisted that the program’s existing digs are woefully inadequate for this increasingly popular offering.
“The enrollment in this program has really skyrocketed,” Gatewood told the commissioners. “This has been tempered somewhat by the [corona]virus. But even in its tempered state, the enrollment is 600 students for the year.”
Gatewood said that he wouldn’t be surprised to see the program’s participation reach 900 to 1,000 students in the coming years. Tom Hartman, the college’s vice president for administrative services, insisted that these students can’t long remain in the repurposed machining lab that presently serves as the program’s abode. For starters, he said that this space is currently reserved for ACC’s early college program, which is slated to take over the old machining lab in mid May. Hartman also deemed these existing quarters to be entirely too cramped for the EMS program. He added that the requested funds will allow the college to provide the program with a dedicated area of 6,300 square feet and another 1,800 square feet of shared space to accommodate features like training simulations and a control room for observation and critique.
The commissioners ultimately signed off on the college’s request after the county’s administrators assured them that the shared capital reserve fund has more than enough money to cover its cost.
According to Alamance County’s manager Bryan Hagood, this joint account has nearly $6.5 million earmarked for the community college – including some $998,544 that isn’t already reserved for current, or future, expenses.
“That means we have built almost a million dollars in capital reserves that isn’t needed for current debt, future debt, operating costs, or planned CIP amounts,” he told the commissioners. “We want to be careful with the capital reserves…But I am encouraged that the capital reserves are building at such a rate that we can use them for the operational costs when the new buildings come online.”
In the end, the commissioners voted 4-to-0 in favor of ACC’s request based on the county manager’s endorsement. The only commissioner to sit out the vote was Pamela Thompson, who asked to be recused because her husband is a member of ACC’s board of trustees.