East Central College

Among fast-food restaurant-related facility changes and COVID-19 updates, the East Central College Board of Trustees voted to allocate thousands of dollars to staff wage increases and Wi-Fi updates at its monthly meeting Monday.

Using COVID-19-related funds, the board voted to allocate about $66,500 to upgrade communication infrastructure to improve remote learning.

Of that money, $16,500 will go to the purchase of 15 new Wi-Fi access points through Aruba Networks and a one-year Wi-Fi subscription service.

About $22,500 will be used to update current low voltage cabling through the company TeleWiring Inc. The remaining $27,500 will be used to update bandwidth for remote learning through a contract with Dell.

"I assume this will improve it, so we won’t have students driving around in the parking lot looking for a signal," Trustee Ann Hartley said, laughing. Her assumption was confirmed by other members of the board.

Staff Wage Increase

The board also voted unanimously to increase staff wages during the mid-year salary adjustment.

ECC’s 197 full-time employees’ salaries will increase by $1,000 or 2.5 percent, whichever is higher, starting December 2020.

Part-time staff members, excluding student workers and adjunct faculty, will see their salaries increase by 5 percent starting Jan. 1.

The adjunct faculty members will receive a $30 pay increase per credit hour beginning in the winter session. There is an average of 120 adjunct faculty members, according to the college’s website.

This money comes from state revenue that was "greater than expected," according to the PowerPoint slide presented by President Dr. Jon Bauer.

"The faculty and staff who have just done incredible work, especially this year with everything related to COVID," Bauer said during the meeting.

He said that "even before COVID, we have had challenges with compensation," but this starts the university’s endeavors toward focusing on and enhancing pay, which will be a "priority next year."

Live Mas, Bright Lights

ECC is naming its baseball field near Prairie Dell Road the "Taco Bell" field. This follows a $25,000 donation from ECC alumni John Moroney, who owns W&M Restaurants, a franchise of Taco Bell.

A Taco Bell logo will fill up half of the back of the scoreboard, which will be visible to drivers on the road.

The board voted unanimously to pass the name change.

The school’s baseball program, which had been previously cut following the 2001 season, is being resurrected after the board of trustees voted in December 2019 to add baseball and women’s soccer to the college’s sports offerings. The baseball program is scheduled to start in the 2021-2022 school year. The team, which will compete in the NJCAA Division II level, is expected to play exhibition games next fall before starting its first season in the spring of 2022, according to previous reporting by The Missourian.

The college’s baseball program dates back to 1974 and notable baseball alumni from that era include former Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Tom Henke and former major leaguer Omir Santos, who played with the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians.