By Jim Bloch
The city of Marysville and St. Clair County Community College are collaborating on the creation of a south campus that would feature athletic facilities.
The Marysville City Council voted unanimously at its regular meeting Jan. 27 to enter into a 50-year intergovernmental agreement with the college.
The college is proposing to build a soccer field surrounded by a running track at Morton Park in Marysville. SC4 is proposing to use the fifth baseball diamond in Marysville Park for its women’s softball team. Both would be available for use by students and city residents.
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“The agreement before you reflects cooperation,” said Kirk Kramer, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the college. “It reflects the best use of funds, because we’re a governmental entity also.”
The deal between the two parties is made possible under Michigan Public Act 35 of 1951, the Michigan Intergovernmental Contracts Act.
With the college contributing money and the city contributing land, the goal is to combine resources in a way that leads to a greater whole.
One of the key factors in keeping students in school is engagement, said Pete Lacey, vice president of student services.
“That can certainly be college athletics, but it can also be an opportunity for students to watch college athletics or we just started a SC4 dance team or you have intramural sports,” said Lacey. “A turf field like the soccer field that’s proposed would give us a chance to do things like a flag football league — opportunities for students to participate in activities outside the normal classroom.”
This kind of engagement, Lacey said, is important in attracting students to SC4 and retaining them.
According to the agreement, which is effective Feb. 1, the city has 60 days to designate sufficient space in its parks for the college’s athletic fields and facilities — or the deal is off.
Lacey discussed the college’s recent development of the Field House, formerly part of the Port Huron’s McMorran complex.
“The field house has presented us with an opportunity to host a lot of state and national level tournaments,” said Lacey. “We are the host site for the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national women’s basketball championship in March. That will be 16 teams from across the nation. The best 16 women’s basketball teams will come to our community to compete for that championship. They’re going to stay an entire week. They’re going to have about a thousand hotel room nights. They’re going to see our community and that’s exciting. That’s the type of work that we want to be part of.”
The agreement between the college and the city is three single-spaced pages in length. Among other things, the parties will collaborate on the scheduling of the new field and the diamond. The college will keep all the revenue from the two facilities. SC4 will maintain the fields and facilities in a manner consistent with the city parks and the city, in turn, will keep the parks up to the standards of the college fields. The college will post its own signage identifying the fields. The city will pick up all utility charges in the parks. Both will collaboratively seek grants.
Marysville finance director Mike Booth served as acting city manager in the absence of City Manager Randy Fernandez, who was celebrating the birth of his first grandchild. From the city’s vantage point, the collaboration with the college offered an opportunity to transform the city parks from good to great, Booth said.
Councilmember Dave Barber thanked fellow council members Paul Wessel and Shawn Winston for help to put the agreement together.
“I’d like to see the lady president of the college throw out the first pitch for the Lady Skippers,” said Mayor Wayne Pyden.
Dr. Deborah Snyder is president of SC4.