By Megan Wilson
REGIONAL – Since the advent of the Kirtland Community College (KCC) 4 Mile Road Campus in 2016, the face of the KCC Roscommon Campus is changing, but its mission remains the same: To serve the community around it.
“There have been multiple changes to both campuses, but the programs that have been removed from the Roscommon Campus and relocated in Grayling to enhance accessibility and access to cutting-edge technology,’ said Dr. Thomas Quinn, KCC president. ‘(They) include the RN program, the Phlebotomy certificate program, the EMS certificate program, and additional Science courses important for medical programs.’
The Roscommon Campus also added a partnership with Fiat-Chrysler Corporation in which coursework for the Auto Technology program offers up to 34 certifications from Fiat-Chrysler, this program also includes a curriculum in light diesel mechanics, which Quinn expects to expand.
In addition, the campus at Roscommon KCC has undergone several repairs, within the past two years that have been used to improve different areas, including the Auto Technology Shop, the roof of the CTC building, as well as upgrading the Law Enforcement physical training facilities.
“Kirtland is implementing a plan that includes changing the main entrance to the Campus from Michigan Highway F97 to Sunset Drive,” said Quinn. “This change better directs student traffic to the Administration Building and the Admissions, Business, Advising, and Financial Aid offices, signage to the Campus is being updated to assist visitors.”
“KCC has spent 1.5 million dollars updating the Roscommon Campus in various capacities, these include bathrooms, making classrooms more effective teaching tools when used with digital technology, and updated the landscape so it can be maintained in a more efficient manner,” said Quinn.
Along with the above-mentioned repairs, KCC is implementing a facilities plan, in which the college is replacing outdated doors with more energy efficient ones, and creating vestibule locks when possible, this is aimed at improving on building maintenance costs at the Roscommon Campus.
To save money, the college is removing driveways and parking areas that need repair and no longer needed. And the savings from shuttering some of the older buildings is evident in the utility bills alone.
“As a comparison, the approximate 45,000 square foot INS classroom building on the Roscommon Campus requires about $47,000 annually in fuel oil to heat the building,” Quinn said. “The 58,000 square-foot Health Sciences Center in Grayling used about $4,400 in natural gas since the start of the 2017-2018 fiscal year.”
The Roscommon Campus was built in 1966, well before energy codes were in effect.
“On the Roscommon Campus, the college has been replacing boilers accordingly to the facilities and maintenance plan. There has been a study regarding the cost of bringing natural gas from the City of Roscommon to the facility, but construction costs are prohibitive.”
KCC has undergone extensive remodeling to try and make the Roscommon Campus more energy efficient, adding insulation to areas that at times are concrete walls.
“To add insulation to the concrete block walls, the college must demolish parts of interior partition walls, move heating components, strip the walls with wood, sheetrock, and trim around windows,’ Quinn said. “Engineers have suggested that windows also be replaced in the process.”
The current size of the Roscommon Campus is about five acres. However, due to an aging population, online instruction and the choice of students to attend the 4 Mile Road campus, not all the buildings are currently being utilized.
KCC ranks 24th in the Nation for its online courses, which offer nontraditional students an alternative means of getting a degree.
“Kirtland offers a Criminal Justice program that transfers to various universities for a bachelor degree,” Quinn said. “The college also offers a Law Enforcement Academy that leads to jobs and is part of the Criminal Justice Program.”
For many years, the Criminal Justice Program has had empty seats, but enrollment this semester is increasing, and the job outlook is positive.
“There has been a very limited discussion to bring a Conservation Officer Program back to Kirtland because of the number of jobs available,” said Quinn. “Kirtland takes pride in the number of its graduates that find good-paying jobs that support a family should employment change for the better, the college will consider this program if student interest is sufficient.”
Quinn said Kirtland will host a series of citizen meetings to discuss alternative uses of the Roscommon Campus.
‘I’ve been told there is interest among citizens for creating an Art and Craft Center on the campus and wants to pursue this option,’ he added. ‘Northern Michigan has a vibrant artist community and has helped nurture artists throughout history, from Hemingway to more recent artist communities that are shaping the future of downtowns across the country.’
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