Lake Tahoe Community College on track with $5.8 million University Center project
LTCC presidential search update
In an effort to smooth the transition between leadership, the Lake Tahoe Community College board of trustees has asked current college president Kindred Murillo to stay on as president through June of 2017.
“At this point in time we’re not anticipating it happening any sooner than that,” board member Kerry David said of the search for a replacement and Murillo’s departure. “We’re fortunate that Kindred has agreed to stay on until June of 2017.”
Initially Murrillo had considered stepping down between June of 2016 and February of 2017, according to a statement from college spokeswoman Diane Lewis.
David said that the board’s request for her to remain in her current position was to allow time for a comprehensive search for her replacement.
Speaking to her decision to stay Murillo said, “I think it’s important to have a very smooth transition. We’ve done a lot of hard work over the last five years. That’s why I thought it was important to stay. I want to make sure the college will continue to progress.”
David described the search for Murillo’s replacement as in its early stages.
“We’d love to have her longer,” he said. “She’s agreed to accommodate us.”
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — For Lake Tahoe Community College president Kindred Murillo, the idea of a new University Center is key to the college’s future growth — both academically and in terms of student population. It’s an opinion shared by the college’s administration and board of trustees. The vision for the state-of-the-art facility will become a reality in the fall of 2018, thanks to a $5.8 million donation by longtime Tahoe resident Lisa Maloff.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, the college presented its board of trustees with updated plans for the building, which is set to break ground in May of 2017.
“This project, from my point of view, can be a game changer,” Murillo said. “It’s absolutely critical.”
Echoing the sentiment, vice president of administrative services Jeff DeFranco said, “This is going to be a 21st century learning environment.”
The belief among college officials is that the 6,600-square-foot Lisa and Robert Maloff University Center will play a key role in furthering collaborations with accredited four-year institutions to ultimately create four-year degree programs at LTCC. Currently, students can work toward associate’s degrees or complete coursework to transfer to four-year institutions.
“Our goal is to make sure people don’t have to leave Tahoe,” Murillo said.
DeFranco added that the project will be a “very important cog in that wheel.”
As part of the effort to add four-year educational opportunities, the college formed a committee to review and propose programs and universities that could offer degree programs at the completed center.
The college already submitted a proposal to University of California, Davis and is also considering other options, including a number of California State University branches and the University of Nevada.
“We could have three to four universities doing programs at the same time,” Murillo said.
According to DeFranco, “We want to get the most stellar university partners with programs that meet the demands of our community and students. I think (the university center) really helps us to recruit these partners.”
The standalone building will include four classrooms that can be combined into two larger rooms for events, along with other administrative offices and student facilities.
Murillo said the college has yet to decide on what specific programs LTCC will add, but expects them to be a good fit for Tahoe. She said an environmental policy program is among those considered.
The idea to expand to four-year offerings was based on community feedback for the college’s Measure F bond effort for LTCC improvements — and independent of Maloff’s donation.
While she won’t see the benefits of the new facilities, current student senate president Jessica Sota said she sees the importance of the facility.
“I think it’s going to be a great expansion for the college,” the 29-year-old pre-nursing program student said. “It would have been amazing to complete my four-year bachelor’s degree program here. I would have loved to have stayed.”
In addition to a the benefit for the college, Murillo said she believes that LTCC’s growth will be a positive for the South Shore.
“We’re helping to build South Lake Tahoe and build a better community,” she said. “If you’re a college town, you really are a center for activities. That’s what we want to be.”
According to the college, Maloff’s contribution is the largest single donation ever given to LTCC and is comparable to donations given to larger institutions across the country.