Southwestern Illinois College's Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a $181,220 contract with Ittner Architects to design improvements to the Belleville campus' central quad area.
Ittner leaders in June made a video presentation to the board which outlined ideas of how to improve the area between the campus' main building and its new liberal arts complex. The highlight of the presentation was an amphitheater where concerts, plays and other events could be held.
"We think it is something that will be not only beneficial to students and the college but also the community as a whole," SWIC President Georgia Costello said of the plans.
Costello said there was no firm deadline for Ittner to finish its report.
"I know they're going to do something that's pretty comprehensive," Costello said. "But we expect it's something that they'll be able to turn around quickly."
Board President Nick Mance said during the presentation that he hoped the amphitheater would give SWIC the ability to host events like jazz festivals.
In other business:
* The board approved raises for part-time sports coaches. Men's soccer coach Larry Petri, men's basketball coach Steve Campo and women's softball coach Ed Martz would each get a 10 percent raise. Petri's salary would go from $7,960 to $8,756; Campo's pay would be increased from $1,470 to $1,587 and Martz would get a hike from $2,450 to $2,675.
Meanwhile, the board will consider rescinding a policy that allowed coaches with more than five years of experience to get 10 percent raises. It will consider instead a proposal to give other part-time coaches a 2.75 percent raise.
SWIC spokesman said state retirement reform law now prohibits raises that large in one calendar year.
"The state university retirement system now has a 6 percent cap on raises in a calendar year," Fleming said.
School leaders said the coaches that got the 10 percent hikes would have it broken up and paid in installments over two or more years to comply with the law.
* Students complained about the board's decision to eliminate SWIC's Minority Transfer Tour program and fold its staff into other school departments.
Joshua Sparks said the program helped him move on to a four-year school where he plans to continue his education after two years at SWIC.
"This is a program that is good for the students and good for the community," Sparks told the SWIC Board. "The Transfer Tour has transformed a lot of lives. I know it changed mine."
Mance told students who questioned the decision that they should submit their questions in writing and the administration would respond to them.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at email@example.com or call 239-2626.