BofG Briefs: Softball – And Maybe Football – For New Sports Park

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Among the topics of discussion and administration-authored reports during the September 24th meeting of the college’s Board of Governors (BofG) were these:

• The college’s new Sports Park will add its softball diamond much sooner than expected.

It had been slated for development in the “second phase” of the construction project, several years down the road.

But a new commitment of $1 million in funding from the Student Athletic Association will see the diamond added to the project immediately – probably to be operational by next spring.

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AND ... The new soccer pitch will also be usable as a football field ... So, the college is making overtures to develop a partnership with Windsor’s AKO Fratmen team of the Canadian Junior Football League.

In addition to seeing the Sports Park serve as the home-field of the Fratmen, it is hoped that such a partnership might bolster student recruitment – if football-playing high schoolers could transition on to the Fratmen when they enrolled at the college.

This would expand upon a 2014 agreement between the college and Fratmen, making the team’s players eligible for St. Clair varsity athletic scholarships when they enrol at the college.

Other Sports Park update info provided to the BofG by the administration included:

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Construction of the Sports Park was initiated in April 2019, and considerable progress has occurred as of September 2019. The college continues to work in collaboration with the Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Student Athletic Association (SAA) as it relates to construction, funding and operational planning for the Sports Park.

Three major donors have been secured:

- Zekelman Industries ($2,500,000 cash),

- Domino’s Pizza Canada ($1,000,000 cash),

- Windsor Family Credit Union ($1,000,000 – cash donation plus interest relief).

The college has funded and successfully completed two new parking lots in the Sports Park in time for fall start-up.

Significant construction has taken place on the soccer stadium, press box and the jumbo scoreboard. The footings for the tennis centre are complete, and steel erection will take place in late September.

A redesigned softball diamond has been included in the project as of September 2, 2019 due to increased fundraising from stadium seat sponsorships and an additional $1 million commitment from the Student Athletic Association.

At this time, park amenities may include:

- West parking lot;

- East parking lot;

- New roadway on east side of the parking lot;

- Walking track from west parking lot to the sand volleyball complex;

- Beacon entrance;

- Outdoor sand volleyball complex that is fully lit, with snack bar/restaurant;

- Zekelman indoor tennis courts – four indoor courts, pro shop and dressing rooms;

- Soccer stadium with artificial turf – fully lit with seating capacity for 1,500;

- Press box;

- Ladies softball diamond with artificial turf – fully lit with spectator bleachers for 300 (new cost of $2,952,346 plus $100,000 architect fees).

A lead manager (Jeff McEwan) has been designated as the college lead and liaison in working collaboratively with the SRC and SAA to facilitate the operation of the Sports Park and all recreational facilities.

The Student Athletic Association has approved an annual budget allocation of $200,000 to ensure the successful operation of the Sports Park.

College management, the Student Athletic Association and the Student Representative Council will collaborate closely to ensure a well-rounded mix of varsity sports, intramural sports and student activities occur in the new facility.

• Don’t hold your breath awaiting the long-dreamed-of construction of a parking garage at the main Windsor campus. It’s probably not going to happen. Preliminary indications suggest that it would be too expensive for the college to construct, and too expensive for students (and staff) to want to use.

An administrative update to the BofG explained:

A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued on January 15, and closed on May 10, for the construction and management of a parking garage on campus. The goal of the RFP was to determine if there were interested partner(s) (that is, a private-sector company) who would build a parking garage at their cost, and recoup the cost by managing the garage and potentially all parking operations on campus, over a ten-plus-year period.

Three submissions were received, but all three submissions fell short of meeting the requirements of the RFP. Two submissions indicated that they could not meet the requirements, and suggested that the college must pay the complete cost of construction. The third submission attempted to meet the requirements, but fell short by leaving a significant balloon payment at the end of the ten-year period.

The two main conclusions drawn from the submission are as follows:

1. The college would be required to invest in all or part of the construction of the parking garage. The cost for construction was estimated by all three submissions to be around $13-15 million;

2. The construction of a parking garage would necessitate a considerable increase to parking permit fees in order to make the parking garage sustainable. The current rate of $300 for eight months (in a parking lot) would need to increase by two to three times (probably closer to the top end of that estimate).

Administration determined that the students and staff should be surveyed to determine if a substantial increase in parking fees would be acceptable if a parking garage were to be built by the college. The college will work with the student governments to implement this survey.

• Another RFP was also issued earlier this year, seeking interest by private-sector developers in the construction and operation of off-campus residence facilities.

No submissions at all were received in response to that initiative ...

... But, plans continue to push ahead for the construction of a new, on-campus residence with a private-sector partner. See the previous Scene story about that at http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/second-rez-planned-windsor-campus

• The BofG was informed by administration that the college’s 2018-19 Annual Report has been tabled with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and released to the public. It can be found, for your reading enjoyment, at http://www.stclaircollege.ca/boardandstaff/corporatedocuments/Annual_Report_2018_2019.pdf

• Expanding on the basic content of the Fall Enrolment Report (see separate story in the bottom half of http://stclair-src.org/news/node/610), Registrar Mike Silvaggi provided the BofG with some demographic breakdowns of this year’s student population:

– The top ten countries-of-origin of St. Clair’s international students are India (3,900 of the 4,200 total international students who are here), China (about 145), and – in double digits – Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Korea, Brazil, the Philippines, Jordan, Iran, Mexico, Colombia and Jamaica. About 50 other countries have between one and nine students at the college;

– Among first-year students, 36.5 percent are from Windsor-Essex, and 28.7 percent are international students. The remaining 34.8 percent are from Chatham-Kent, and other parts of Ontario and Canada;

– Among first-year students, 53 percent are female, and 47 percent are male;

– Also among first-year students, 54 percent are under the age of 21, 29 percent at between 21 and 26 years old, eight percent are 26 to 30, and eight percent are over 30.