“The rest is pretty okay”: Concept Paper Response by Gerry Bello ’97:

[From the Editor: On April 1st, 2009, the Concept Paper for an independent Antioch College was released on antiochians.org. Read the concept paper here.]

Continue the discussion on the Record’s Forum

At first read of the concept paper I’m skeptical on 2 points. The rest is pretty okay:

1) Three years, 9 terms, 120 credits, 3 co-ops. I don’t think so.

Consider the curriculum I was under: 4 years, 8 terms, 160 credits, 6 co-ops for a BA. 10-35 additional credits for a BS. At that rate you would have to pass every course to graduate on time. First years could only take 15 credits their 1st quarter thus they would have to study over co-op to graduate on time. The result was a really a 5 year school. Which is fine. I did it in 5.5 years but switched majors.

For student under the new program to take essentially the same course load (I think they mean 4 credits per class instead of 5) they will have a course load 25% worse than mine. No thanks. The idea of taking classes online over co-op is a nice idea. We did independant studies over co-op. But I also co-oped in the remotest place in the lower 48. I lived 26 miles from a paved road and 9 miles from a phone.

Similarly quite a few students choose to co-op in places that are remote or lack the infrastructure to support rebust video conferncing or other web-based particiaption. With a focus on sustainibility, many students will be co-oping in places that are rural and lack the energy and information infrastructure to support that sort of thing.

Consider this: Right now, Ct Chen drives to Non-Stop to do some of his computer work because he lives where there is no broadband. He is 2 miles from town. He uses dialup at home.

I also think the number of co-ops is too small.

The program lacks the flexibility for students to change their major and learn and grow. I didnt have the same lifes goals in 1997 that I did in 1991. Antioch changed that. How many people will come to Antioch, discover things they have never heard of, have their lives changed, and be unable to pursue a study of these things due to a vicious schedule.

That and when exactly are you kids expected to engage in community, recreation and sleep with such a schedule? You need your sleep. And your community. I know the grown ups think you dont need your recreation… but hey… what do they know?

2) Depending on my math, $30 mill is either too high or too low. If they just take the number of sq ft of the buildings and multiply by 100 they will have $36.57 million. Are they really going to fully renovate every single inch of every building on campus? Birch has been renovated 3 times in the last 15 years. Does it really need another $4.6 million dollars worth of work? As a contractor I should be salivating…. But what needs the work? I need to look more at what they think they want to do and frankly, the Stanley report is a joke.

However, replacing the power plant could be costly… depending on how much excess capacity is built for sale as an additional revenue stream. Assuming campus only power generation, you are talking a 1MW plant. Assuming campus + village, 6 to 12 MW depending on if you are generating for base or peak power (YS doubles its january electricty consumption in July).

Replacing the power plant must happen no matter what.

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