Friday, October 24, 2014

INBODY: Surviving renovation challenges

By BRIAN INBODY, Neosho County Community College | 7/21/2014

Jen and I plan to celebrate 20 years together as man and wife on Wednesday. And it’s been the happiest 14 years of my life. That’s a little joke, Jen! Remember, you told me that you fell in love with me because I made you laugh. I have to keep trying to make you laugh a second time.

We have made it through these past 20 years with some bumps along the way and some tests that we were able to pass with flying colors.

Jen and I plan to celebrate 20 years together as man and wife on Wednesday. And it’s been the happiest 14 years of my life. That’s a little joke, Jen! Remember, you told me that you fell in love with me because I made you laugh. I have to keep trying to make you laugh a second time.

We have made it through these past 20 years with some bumps along the way and some tests that we were able to pass with flying colors.

But this big occasion in my life has me thinking about marriage, and how it is tested from time to time. They say the true test of any marriage is the first test: organizing a wedding. With so many decisions to make, tight timelines, tight budgets, family politics, emotional investment, etc., a wedding can be a challenge to survive. My wedding to Jennifer was a very simple affair — no money will make it that way — so it was not a lot of stress.

I happen to think the real test of marriage comes not if your relationship survives the wedding, but when you remodel your house, especially while you are living it in. Anyone who has done a major remodel knows what I’m talking about. Doing without normal comforts while putting up with construction and the constant mess tests anyone’s relationship.

A few years ago, we remodeled our kitchen, taking the room back to studs and rebuilding it. We set up the dining room as the temporary kitchen for three months while the work was done. It was not awesome. We had plastic tubs for a pantry, cooked with the microwave and the George Foreman Grill, and did our dishes in the bathroom sink. So stress level does tend to rise a bit. But all in all, we made it through with a beautiful kitchen and our marriage intact. (Full discloser: We ate out ... a lot!)

We are renovating parts of Neosho County Community College’s Chanute campus this summer, as well in preparing for another academic year. The plan is to move through each building, bit by bit, as we can afford it, to update spaces that have not been updated since they were built in 1968.

During the past few years we have updated locker rooms, the nursing labs, the lower level of our library, the business classrooms and many office spaces. This year we are focusing specifically on two original science labs. We took those rooms down to studs as well(they’re concrete block, not studs, but you get the idea) re-imagining the spaces to make them state of the art and more conducive to learning.

Other improvements are expected for a beautiful exhibit area for the college’s many animal specimens, a new gym floor, entryway changes at the student union, and an updated baseball scoreboard.

Even our phone system is getting a refresher. Soon you will be able to call the person you wanted directly, by their own number, instead of our extension system and going through the switchboard. It’s called Direct Inward Dial and we plan to have it ready by the first day of classes as well. Don’t worry. We will still have a “live” switchboard operator to help forward calls during regular hours if you don’t know the direct number.

I am happy to report that the employees are being real troopers through the renovations. The layer of construction dust on everything and everyone has not dampened their spirits. I remind everyone in the student union that the lovely smell of floor sealant wafting through the air is really the smell of progress. All of our community members who have visited campus this summer have been very understanding of all of these changes, and I greatly appreciate it. We are in the home-stretch now, with only about a month to go before faculty and students begin to arrive for another academic year. All is on budget and on schedule.

At home, our new kitchen is great and our marriage has never been stronger. Thank you, Jennifer, for a fantastic life. I look forward to the next decades together. I love you.

Brian Inbody is Neosho County Community College president, representing the college’s Chanute and Ottawa campuses. Email him at binbody@neosho.edu

comments powered by Disqus