Education

June 18, 2014

New hires, campus improvements approved by SWIC Board of Trustees

The Southwestern Illinois College Board of Trustees on Wednesday named women's basketball coach Mike Juenger to replace outgoing school athletic director Jay Harrington on an interim basis.

Juenger, who is a Belleville West and McKendree University graduate, played basketball at SWIC -- then called Belleville Area College -- according to school spokesman Mike Fleming.

"Prior to taking the women's head coaching position, he served as assistant men's basketball coach for six seasons," Fleming said of Juenger. "He has also served in the athletic department as facilities coordinator and safety manager since 2008."

Juenger's women's basketball teams have a 335-182 record and they have won six conference championships as have qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament five times, finishing as high as second in the country in 2002.

Board members plan to make a permanent decision about hiring a permanent athletic director at their July meeting. They did not say when a basketball coach will be hired. But school leaders said it is important to have an athletic director in place first to be involved in that decision making process.

Harrington announced his decision to retire in May. He said at the time the reason he was stepping down was because of the state's efforts to reform pension for teachers and other public workers. He had been men's basketball coach since 1979 and athletic director since 1980.

His SWIC hoops teams had a 714-419 record. He was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and the NCJAA Hall of Fame in 2002.

In other business Wednesday, the SWIC Board of Trustees approved:

* Appointment of 15 employees including 10 academic advisors, two custodians, a maintenance workers, an assistant professor and librarian, and an assistant instructional technology manager.

"All appointments are to fill vacated positions at a lesser cost," Fleming said of the new hires.

* A $370,000 proposal for improvements to the restrooms at SWIC's Sam Wolf Granite City campus.

* Proposed revisions to plans for a veterans services career center in the Main Building on the Belleville campus, totaling 137,640.

* Plans to expand SWIC's wireless Internet system with a $211,019 investment in improvements and a $42,531 increase in the school's annual budget for wi-fi services.

"One of the benefits of this is that it will allow students to rent electronic textbooks that are cheaper than traditional bound textbooks," James Riha, chief information officer at SWIC, said. "We will probably get started by July and we hope to have at least some of it up and running by the fall."

The meeting was held at SWIC's Red Bud campus at 500 S. Fourth St.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.

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