The Parkland College Blog

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.

Degree Completion Day

Come learn about the other end of registration and how to get there

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Are you just getting started at Parkland working toward a degree? Degree Completion Day might be an easy way to make your schedule for the whole two years through student planning.

Maybe your mom or dad has some credits from Parkland but never completed a degree. You could both come to Degree Completion Day, Wednesday Oct. 3 from 9:30 to 1:30 in the U building and find out what’s needed to finish.

Perhaps you’re just “this close" to a certificate. Counselors will be available to check your success. Financial Aid will be there to let you know if you might qualify for a Pell Grant. If you think you will finish in fall or spring, we will have Graduation Petitions for you to submit to Admissions, and you can find out what the commencement ceremony is all about. In addition, we'll have refreshments and a raffle with WPCD-FM live streaming!

Come on over to the Student Union and learn about the other end of registration. See you there.

[Dennis Kaczor, Counseling Services]


National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, September 23-29, helps bring attention to the more than 36 million adults in the United States who cannot read, write, or perform simple math calculations.

Parkland College Adult Education provides free basic literacy, English as a second language, and high school equivalency instruction to local adults and out-of-school youth. We support and encourage many students throughout the year who each have unique and compelling stories. Jacob Bernard is one example of whom we serve.

Jacob attended public school through the second grade. His mother then opted to meet his education needs with a homeschooling approach called the Unschooling Method. This method promotes non-structured, child-led learning with no set curriculum or schedule. Jacobs’s talents and interests guided his education toward film, photography, and video production. This approach did not require him to advance in mathematics beyond his second-grade instruction.

As a young man, Jacob recognized the need for some of the basic elements that were lacking in his education and determined that he would earn his GED. He began this pursuit in the fall of 2017, immersing himself in the learning materials his instructors taught and attended individual tutoring sessions. He passed all of his GED tests on his first attempt and earned his certificate on April 20, 2018.

Jacob currently works part time at Urbana Public Television (UPT) as a camera operator. He also works to create promotional videos for a company called MUTI, where he is responsible for production, coordination, scheduling, and shooting. Additionally, Jacob has done some work for WCIA as a freelance, camera operator. Finally, Jacob plans to continue his post-secondary education at Parkland College in the spring.

Parkland College Adult Education allowed Jacob the resources and tools to accomplish his goals, gain confidence and pursue his passion at a higher level. Literacy impacts every area of a person’s life. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Parkland College Adult Education, please contact our office at (217) 351-2580 or 

#AEFLWeek #AdultEDU

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.