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WCC energy costs lead all Michigan community colleges

Last summer, trustees at Kirtland Community College voted to abandon the school’s main campus in Roscommon in favor of a newer site in Grayling. Kirtland president Tom Quinn cited energy costs as one reason for the move.

The Kirtland campus in Roscommon first opened in 1966. Kirtland opened a second facility in Grayling in 2016. Expanding the Grayling campus facilities to support all of Kirtland’s programs will cost the College about $17M.

The issue of energy efficiency is interesting because data on energy costs collected by the State of Michigan show that WCC spends twice as much per cubic foot on energy as Kirtland Community College does. Kirtland is willing to walk away from its original campus because its energy costs are too high. In an article in the Crawford County Avalanche, President Quinn indicated that it would be less expensive to build new facilities in Grayling than it would be to rehab the facilities in Roscommon.

Better Board oversight could cut WCC’s energy costs

Based on the State’s FY2019 data, WCC spends a lot on energy – nearly $4M per year. Lansing Community College, which has nearly 20% more space than WCC, spends nearly 14% less on energy costs. LCC is the second-largest energy spender among all Michigan community colleges.

Wayne County Community College, Oakland CC, Grand Rapids CC and Macomb CC have vastly larger physical footprints than WCC, and somehow all manage to have substantially lower energy costs. When I say “lower,” I mean half as much. (Maybe these other schools just perform regular maintenance on their HVAC systems?)

Meanwhile, as the WCC administration apparently sets money on fire to heat the campus, the WCC Trustees say nothing. (Their job is to set policy and authorize expenses, so they could fix this.)

Spending other people’s money is easy, but if the trustees ever decide to reduce expenses at WCC, I have an idea.

Photo Credit: Purple Slog , via Flickr