Public addresses Orpheum concerns to college board

The prospect of changes at the Orpheum Theater led to some public comment on the matter at the Iowa Valley Community College District board meeting Wednesday.

Community members asked the board if there was a way they could weigh in during a forum on the future of the theater, which could see changes as it is losing money.

An advisory meeting is in place on July 22 for invited community members to talk about the direction of the theater.

Iowa Valley Chancellor Chris Duree said a public meeting could come out of that advisory meeting, if they feel the need for one. Having hundreds of members of the public at the July 22 meeting is not in the best interest of Iowa Valley at this time, Duree said.

“We’re trying to make that meeting as productive as we can,” Duree said.

Jane Bauer, of Marshalltown, said she is concerned and hopes that the Orpheum moves forward and does not regress in the future.

Board member Larry Johnson said the board wants to see the Orpheum succeed in a fiscally responsible manner.

“There’s nobody on this board that wants the Orpheum to fade away,” Johnson said.

Duree said they will get public input before any changes are made to the programming at the Orpheum.

“There will be no shortfall of community involvement as we move forward with any plan,” he said.

There was no agenda item on the Orpheum at the meeting and the discussion was held in the public comment period.

In an action item, the board approved a $4 per credit hour tuition increase at its colleges including Marshalltown Community College, Ellsworth Community College and Iowa Valley Grinnell.

Duree said the $4 increase is slightly below the average tuition increase at all of the community colleges in Iowa. The new tuition rate will be $148 per credit hour for residents of the district at MCC.

The next regular meeting of the college board will be at 4 p.m. Aug 14 in Marshalltown.