Big things are happening at Lincoln Trail College.
Two weeks ago, the Lincoln Trail College Foundation appropriated $165,000 for college projects that will be completed over the next six months.
Foundation Executive Director Rod Harmon is excited about the trajectory he sees the College taking.
"The purpose of the foundation is to support the college and its students," Harmon said. "Because our community has been generous, we are in a position to help the college take some important steps in upgrading buildings and bringing new technologies into the classroom."
Last year, a small group of LTC faculty, staff and administrators came together to develop a vision for where they wanted the college to be in the next decade. From there, a strategic plan was built that identified four primary goals and several key initiatives that will help the college achieve those goals.
LTC President Ryan Gower said early efforts will focus on the fundamentals.
"Delivering a high-quality educational experience is our primary goal," Gower explained. "We are modernizing our instructional spaces, incorporating new technologies and generally making our spaces more conducive to student learning.
"We are also making professional development funds available to our team to help them continue to find new ways to help engage student learners," he added.
Due to the unique mission of community colleges, faculty at LTC have to be prepared to work with a variety of learning styles.
"Millennials enjoy learning interactively and collaboratively," Gower said. "We are bringing technologies to the classroom that will allow us to use multi-media and moving away from classrooms that are designed for a traditional 'lecture' format."
Although the college and foundation are currently working on the fundamentals, they are also laying the groundwork for more ambitious projects in the future.
"The first thing I want to point out is that we have not given up on the LTC Tech Center that the state approved in 2009," said Gower. "This center would provide us with the ability to be a regional magnet - pulling students from beyond Crawford County to engage in career and technical programs in a facility unlike any other in our area."
The college is also in the middle of a capital campaign to revitalize its theater and area residents are excited about the prospect of a large county recreation complex that could be built at LTC.
"It takes time," Gower said. "But, with the support of Von [Meeks], Rod and the rest of the foundation board, I am confident the faculty and staff at the college will work hard to move Lincoln Trail College forward."
Among the big-ticket items the foundation approved:
$61,500 to make improvements to STEM/Biology classroom spaces.
$4,000 to support an applied project for the LTC Construction Technology students.
$10,000 annually to support professional development activities for faculty and staff.
$17,074 to make modifications to the Industrial Annex that will allow the college to house a pre-K (ages 3-5) program on campus.
$35,000 to upgrade the light board and begin the conversion to LED stage lights in the Zwermann Arts Center.