The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College Among Top 20 in Nation for Precision Ag places Parkland at No. 2 among nation's community colleges

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Parkland College's Precision Agriculture program has been named No. 2 among the nation's community colleges by

Earlier in the year, released its Top 25 Colleges in the U.S. for Precision Agriculture, which comprised four-year institutions; it released its Top 20 Two-Year Colleges list in early September, with Parkland's program ranking second on the list.

Parkland College offers the most comprehensive Precision Agriculture associate’s degree in the state of Illinois. Students learn precision ag technologies, such as precision hardware and software systems, through industry-backed curriculum. With a 20-year history of precision agriculture education, Parkland College has built a strong regional reputation with employer partners eager to hire Parkland graduates. 

About PrecisionAg:
PrecisionAg is a diversified, independent media enterprise serving the global community of precision agriculture through the media outlets of, PrecisionAg Professional UpdatePrecisionAg Institute, and PrecisionAg Professional Magazine.

Student Union Named a LEED Silver Building; Celebration Oct. 8

Student services facility earns high marks for energy efficiency, community connectivity

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Parkland College's Student Union has been certified as a green structure by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, and the college invites the public to celebrate the designation at a special event Oct. 8. 

The LEED Silver Celebration will take place in the Student Union atrium at 2 p.m. and will feature remarks from President Tom Ramage, architect Michael Dolter of Perkins + Will and Vice President for Student Services Michael Trame. This event highlight the college's sustainability efforts, the features that contributed to LEED certification, and the ways the Student Union has transformed the student experience since opening its doors in 2014. Dolter will lead audience on an architectural tour of the building. Light refreshments will be provided. 

Devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED certification rating system focuses primarily on new, commercial-building projects. LEED uses a point system to evaluate and report the environmental performance of a building, rating it in terms of energy and water efficiency, air quality, and building materials. LEED standards are now globally synonymous with sustainable design.

The Student Union received the certification in early June, earning its highest marks for water efficient landscaping, stormwater control, public transportation access, and community connectivity. The 113,000-square-foot, $28 million facility was designed to house Parkland College student services offices, the Parkland College Bookstore, spaces for student organizations and lounging, a cafeteria, and a large-group meeting space.

Parkland’s other LEED Silver-certified building on campus is its Parkhill Applied Technology Center. The college identified sustainability and environmental responsibility as a college-wide priority in 2007 with its Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI). President Ramage signed American College and University President’s Climate Commitment in 2009, with the main goal to reduce carbon emissions.

Trustees Approve Budget, Hire New AD, Refinance Bond Debt

Greater tax savings after successful Series 2018 refunding bond sale

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The Parkland College Board of Trustees approved its FY 2019 budget and hired a new athletic director Wednesday, as well as announced a successful refinancing of its bond debt at a greater savings to taxpayers than originally estimated.
The board adopted the fiscal year 2019 budget, which includes a $333,191 operating surplus. Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles first presented the tentative budget in July, and the budget was on display for public review and input starting Aug. 1.

Parkland College officials also named Brendan McHale as the school's next director of athletics, overseeing its eight Cobras sports teams. 

A Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2009 inductee, McHale brings two decades of administrative experience at Carle Foundation Hospital Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Champaign. He was Parkland College's head athletic trainer from 1992 to 2006 before moving to Carle. McHale replaces Rod Lovett, who retired this past summer after serving as AD since 2000. 
The board also voted to appoint Erin Shannon, a Champaign native, as the college's new director of marketing and public relations effective Oct. 4. Shannon has most recently served as the marketing manager for the City of Bloomington, Ill. parks, recreation, and cultural arts department. 

Also during the meeting, the board moved to expend the remaining bond funds and interest it still controls after having successfully refinanced its 2009–2010 series bond debt last month. The bond refinancing reduces the district’s tax burden by a greater margin than projected.
Working with PMA Securities, Parkland College sold approximately $53 million of outstanding bond debt in the US municipal market from Aug. 14 to Aug. 29 with the sale of its Series 2018A, B and C refunding bonds. District 505 taxpayers should see a savings of $6.2 million over the decade on debt payments.
The college will use $300,000 of the remaining 2008-2009 series bond funds to replace aging flight simulators, with another $1 million to develop the Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture. The funds will also help create a high-fidelity simulation lab, with four new simulation bays and a simulated ambulance, for the Parkland College Health Professions programs.
The trustees also considered the findings of a campus-wide committee and a recommendation from the president regarding a program-specific reduction in force, with no action taken. 

In other business, trustees approved the following:

  • Protection, Health and Safety (PHS) projects in the FY2019 capital plan, including:
    • Campus Walkway/Parking Lot Improvement-South B Wing, $1.4 million
    • Exterior Repairs/Improvements, $500,000
    • Campus Energy Savings Improvements, $200,000
  • a five-year contract for waste hauling services with Area Disposal Services of Peoria, Ill., beginning January 1, 2019. The contract, a result of collaboration between the college’s Sustainable Campus Committee and Physical Plant, aims to reduce the amount of waste refuse going to the landfill and increase the amount of materials acceptable for recycling. Parkland expects the move to save the college about $30,000 per year, reducing/recycling costs by about 54 percent.
  • an increase in some of the daily fees at the Child Development Center (CDC), effective Oct. 1, to ensure sustainability of the center. The proposed tier increases are comparable to other childcare center rates in Champaign-Urbana.
  • proposal by Conference Technologies, Inc., of East Peoria, Ill., to replace the sound system in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre, at $161,981.
  • proposal of Environmental Control Solutions, Inc., of Springfield, Ill., to install a Building Automation Control system in several of the larger campus wings and the chiller plant, at $134,072.67.
  • disposal of four Glock pistols as surplus property of the Public Safety department, which no longer needs them.

Brendan McHale Named New Athletic Director

Former Parkland athletic trainer returns to lead Cobras

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Parkland College has named Brendan McHale as its next director of athletics, overseeing the college’s eight Cobras sports teams.

A Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2009 inductee, McHale brings two decades of administrative experience at Carle Foundation Hospital following more than a decade of work as a Parkland College athletic trainer.

Vice President for Student Services Mike Trame, who led the search for school’s next athletic director, explained why the college is “fortunate” to have McHale return to fill a new role.

“Brendan possesses great integrity, athletic experience and managerial skill,” Trame said. “He is also well respected in the District 505 athletic community. We look forward to the innovation, leadership and skill that he adds to Parkland’s pursuit of excellence for our student athletes, both in the classroom and on the field of competition.”

Before rejoining Parkland, McHale was in his 20th year at Carle Foundation Hospital Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Champaign, having served as the department’s supervisor for the last 12 years. In that role, he managed more than 25 athletic trainers and negotiated contracts with athletic directors, coaches and school administrators to define and meet their needs and contractual obligations. He also collaborated with Carle administrators to manage the department’s budget.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be the next athletic director for Parkland College,” McHale said of his new role. “My predecessors, both Rod Lovett and Jim Reed, were such great leaders; I am fully aware these are big shoes to fill, but I am humbled at this opportunity. I am eager to go to work for Parkland College, and look forward to being a part of helping student athletes be successful.”

Prior to his time at Carle, McHale served as head athletic trainer at Parkland College from 1992 to 2006. As the sole athletic trainer for 13 collegiate sports with over 200 student athletes, McHale developed therapy plans, implemented an injury tracking system and coordinated medical staff for the athletes’ physicals and medical services. Even after leaving the college, McHale continued his collaboration with Parkland through his work with Carle Sports Medicine, maintaining his relationships with the coaches and staff. In 2010, he was inducted into the Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of its Class of 2009.

“When this opportunity presented itself, to say I was intrigued would be an understatement,” McHale said about the AD position vacated by Lovett, who retired this past summer after serving as AD since 2000. “The chance to be a member of the Parkland College family again is something I am extremely excited about. Coupling that with my love for sports connects these two interests. Helping serve and support the coaches, staff and student athletes at Parkland College is something I will enjoy doing again.”

Lovett also expressed his excitement on seeing McHale become his successor.

“Brendan has the perfect personality and the exceptional communication skills to take on this challenge,” Lovett said. “Brendan is a ‘doer’ and will jump in where needed. Additionally, he understands the importance Parkland plays in the local area. He is an outstanding choice, and I’m excited for the coaches and athletes at Parkland.”

A graduate of Western Illinois University in 1990, McHale earned his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education K-12 with an emphasis in athletic training after spending his first two years at Parkland College. He made his first professional stop at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Galesburg, Illinois, from 1991 to 1992, where he developed and implemented a sports medicine program with local high schools and counseled coaches on care options. During his first seven years at Parkland College, he also served as Christie Clinic Association’s athletic trainer, where he evaluated and reconstructed rehabilitation protocols, coordinated patient treatments and administered evaluations.

McHale has continued to take advantage of professional development opportunities through 23 leadership courses and annual attendance at National Athletic Trainers Conferences.

He lives in Mahomet with his wife, Karen, and their four children, Catherine, Nicholas, Jack and Alex.

Parkland Golf Wins Back-to-Back M-WAC Title

Cobras win 13th conference crown

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METAMORA, Ill.  The fourth-ranked Parkland Men’s Golf team won its second straight Mid-West Athletic Conference title, its third in the last four years, Monday evening at Metamora Field Golf Club.

Winning by 17 strokes (339) over runner-up Illinois Central, the Cobras were led by co-medalist Jalen Hodges (71) and All-Conference honoree Brandon Rowe (73).

“I’m proud of the guys for the fight they showed all day on a really difficult course,” said Coach Corbin Sebens. “We didn’t have our best stuff, but it’s a good start to the year we can build from.”

Winning its third conference crown since 2015, the Cobras lead the MWAC in total titles with 13 since its inception in 1996. Parkland went on to take third place at the NJCAA Championships this past spring.

Through the opening scramble competition, Parkland and Illinois Central remained tied with the duos of Kristian Kristensen and Mason Ghodina (30) and Brandon Rowe and Kyle Edwards (30).

The Cobras gained the advantage in the alternate shot portion of the tournament, picking up five strokes on Illinois Central and carding a combined 69. Seben’s squad maintained its five-stroke lead through the best ball round, as Vincennes passed Illinois Central to move into second place entering the final nine holes.

In individual play, co-medalist Jalen Hodges posted Parkland’s best round by carding 35, while Kyle Edwards followed with a 36.

Overall, Parkland finished with a final stroke score of 339, while Illinois Central (356) passed Vincennes (357) in individual play to comeback and earn second place. Lewis & Clark placed fourth with a final score of 397.

Team Scores:
Parkland - 339
Illinois Central - 356
Vincennes - 357
Lewis & Clark - 397

Co-Medalists: Jalen Hodges (Parkland) and Wyatt Robers (Vincennes)
All-Conference: Zach Hall (Vincennes), Noah Benbow (ICC) and Brandon Rowe (Parkland)


[Article by Chad Beyler]