Victoria College discusses demolishing auditorium

The Victoria College board discussed demolishing the school's auditorium as part of a $2.2 million renovation of its fine arts building. The money comes from a 2006 bond project and would also be used to add and remodel about five classrooms in the facility if approved.

"This is money that was voted on by the taxpayers for buildings" said Larry Garrett, executive director of institutional planning and special projects.

President Tom Butler explained the $2.2 million would not have been enough to make all of the repairs needed for the auditorium and remodel the rest of the facility. The auditorium needed about $500,000 worth of repairs, he said.

At the same time, the new Victoria Fine Arts Center is being used to meet VC's and many of the area's fine arts needs.

"(It) can meet most of the needs that our auditorium is meeting, and we've also had fewer people wanting to use our facility," he said. "We don't even use it for some of the things we'd used it for ... We believe the best course is to simply tear down, cut our losses, and we will use other spaces in the community if we needed something larger than the Johnson Symposium."

The board approved a $225,000 contract with Rawley McCoy & Associates to begin architectural work related to the building renovation. Garrett said he expects the entire project, including the demolition, to be voted on in May and groundbreaking by summer. By then, the board will have to approve more exact plans.

The board also OK'd tuition and fee increases for the next school year to prepare for state budget cuts.

Tuition for in-county students will increase $9 per semester credit hour, and the out-of-district fee will increase $2 per semester credit hour.

The increases come as the school prepares to deal with the proposed state cuts to VC's budget up to $2 million over the next two years.

VC sophomore Heather Bryan also addressed the board asking that the school add a student activities fee to support the VC Sports Club.

"This minimal fee would cover a lot of these expenses," she said. "And thus create a better student environment for ourselves."