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2016 December - First Friday Letter

Dear Friends, 

I trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Lewis-Clark State College students enjoyed a well-deserved week off last week and are now back in class, digging in for the final two weeks of school. “Dead Week” is Dec. 5-9 and finals are Dec. 12-15. I wish all of our students the best of luck as they wrap up another semester of learning at LCSC. 

Lewis-Clark State College truly has a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is the tremendous support it continues to receive from the State of Idaho administration and legislature. It was our distinct privilege to host the 2016 North Idaho Legislative Tour on Nov. 14. The biennial event, held after statewide elections, is meant to raise awareness of issues impacting economic development and public policy in northern Idaho. While on campus the majority of Idaho’s 105 newly elected legislators toured our Nursing & Health Sciences Division and the state-of-the-art facilities in Sacajawea Hall, visited the at-capacity programs of the Business Technology & Service and Technical & Industrial divisions, and learned about our very popular Work Scholars Program. In addition, some legislators met with the coaches and players from LCSC’s 18-time national championship baseball team and in the batting cage tried their hand at hitting a 94 mph slider – a memory not soon forgotten I’m sure. 

At the North Idaho Legislative Tour luncheon I had the opportunity to speak alongside Bob Donaldson, superintendent of the Lewiston Independent School District, about the possibility of a joint technical education center in the Lewiston Orchards. With conversations continuing about the construction of a new high school in Lewiston and LCSC’s ever-increasing need to expand capacity for Career & Technical Education (CTE), the idea of partnering with the school district for CTE is being very well received. Such a partnership has the potential to seamlessly move high school students to the college level where they can earn career-technical degrees tied directly to industry needs. Ideally, the project would result in a regional CTE center, serving both local high school students and those from surrounding rural communities. As you can probably tell, I am very excited about this possibility and will be sure to keep you abreast of any developments. 

A number of construction projects are officially underway on campus, including the replacement of Harris Field’s grandstand and the construction of a multipurpose playfield. Beyond enhancing one of the most prestigious collegiate baseball fields in the nation and the home of the Avista-NAIA World Series, the NAIA’s national baseball championship, the new grandstand will provide much needed storage (under the seating areas) and bring the facility up to code. The multipurpose playfield, located across from Harris Field on the corner of Sixth Street and 11th Avenue, will accommodate intramural sports such as soccer, flag football, and other field sports. In addition, it may serve as a practice field for a proposed women’s soccer team, and provide soccer fields for community youth programs currently held at Harris Field. Both projects are being subsidized by institutional capital projects reserves and donated funds. 

Other projects soon underway include the renovation of Spalding Hall and the construction of the North Idaho Collaborative Building. The Spalding Hall project will address deferred maintenance needs as well as structural and fire code issues for one of our oldest buildings (built in 1924). Happening during the middle of the academic year, the renovation presents challenges to faculty in the Education & Kinesiology, Humanities, and Social Sciences divisions who have to move to temporary office locations. I thank them for their ongoing demonstrations of patience and understanding as this much needed renovation takes place. The North Idaho Collaborative Building, a joint project with North Idaho College and the University of Idaho, will provide enhanced student services and increased classroom space for LCSC in Coeur d’Alene, where the college has had a presence since 1982. The design phase of this project nears completion and we hope that ground breaking will follow soon thereafter.

As we begin to close the book on an outstanding fall semester, I once again thank you for your continued support of Lewis-Clark State College. May your holiday season be a joyous one, so here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

J. Anthony Fernandez