Thomas Nelson Community College is laying off its 20-person housekeeping staff in order to cut incosts as enrollment continues to decline.
The college plans to outsource services to ServiceMaster Clean when the new budget begins on July 1. The move would save $450,000 of the current $1,084,000 in costs for salaries, benefits and cleaning supplies.
Enrollment — and therefore revenue — for 2019-20 is predicted to decline another 2 to 3 percent more than its ongoing slide of more than 29 percent over the past eight years, President John Dever said, necessitating the move.
“This was just a very, very difficult decision. Meeting with the employees as we did and talking with them face-to-face was very important to do,” said Dever, who has been president since 2011. “They are valued members of our community. Faculty and staff will tell you that they’ve developed good relationships, as well as students, over the years with them.
“But when we looked at the numbers, the cost that we had per square foot here at Hampton as opposed to the Historic Triangle campus, and when we looked at sister institutions who contracted out … here at Hampton where we were doing it ourselves was much higher per square foot. Once we saw that and saw the issues that we’re dealing with in terms of our budget we had to make that decision based upon the cost savings that we could realize. But it was, again, in regards to dealing with people, in my time here it’s been my most difficult decision, but it’s one we had to make.”
Enrollment hit its all-time peak in 2011-12 with 16,404 students, the equivalent of 7,234 full-time students. Those figures have gone down to 12,210 students last year, a full-time equivalent of 5,157 students.
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