The View From 32


AUGUST 21, 2007   More below: GOOGLE NOTEBOOK

Nice place, but why?

Classroom entrance and hallwayWent to a meeting today at Corporate College East, a new facility Cuyahoga Community College built and opened in 2005.

I'd never been there before, and I have to say I was impressed with the design and furnishings of the place. I've been to the "sister" facility, Corporate College West, and it just doesn't compare (although it's a whole lot nicer in many ways than where I work, Western Campus).

So Corporate College is a great place to attend a meeting. I'm happy to see that among the upscale features they've included in the corridors and public areas is artwork by many area artists.


It's a $30 million dollar facility, and combined with the more modest westside building, totalled over $40 million in construction costs alone.

On our campus, where thousands of students attend classes, we have lots of things we'd like to do, but money is always an issue. Yet Corporate College had what sounds to me like an extravagant budget. According to the architectural firm's website:

"Months into the design, the college raised additional funds and requested that more features be added. URS was able to redesign the building and still meet the project’s fast-track construction deadline."

Exterior view of Corporate College East"More features" "Fast-track constuction"

Were these necessary? Why?

From the Corporate College website:

"It is the mission of Corporate College to drive the economy of Northeast Ohio forward by helping companies, organizations, and individuals invest in our most valuable regional asset - "THE PEOPLE."

"Corporate College will become the economic engine by providing leading-edge training for corporations and entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio. Corporate College offers a gathering place that fosters innovation."

Now I'm very much in favor of the college contributing to the region's economy, but is it the college's mission to become an "economic engine?" And how much will it cost?

The grand plan calls for Corporate College to eventually pay its own way, even funnel profit to the academic side of things, but I don't see any signs of that happening.

The last pie chart I saw of college income/expenses showed Corporate College losing a big chunk of money. But this doesn't get talked about very often. The only significant news item I've seen was in the Plain Dealer in July 2005.

In part it said: "Tri-C sold bonds to pay for construction and has been using revenue from the college's traditional programs to cover costs until the investment pays off. But there hasn't been a profit yet."

I've heard rumors that things may be worse financially than it appears, but I'm not interested in spreading rumors. What I'd like is a full and clear statement of income and expenses, including a breakdown of how much money is being taken from the traditional academic side to underwrite Corporate College costs/expensees. Data on usage patterns and projections would be helpful too.

Maybe it is moving toward self-sufficiency, and if so, that would be great news. If not, well, the taxpayers (that's you & me) paid for it, we should get the straight story on how our investment is doing.

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Google Notebook

I hate to sound like a Google fanboy, but I've discovered another clever and useful piece of Google software: Notebook. Download and install a browser plugin (I use Firefox) and all you need to do is click "Notebook" icon at the bottom corner of your browser window to bring up your notebook(s).

Screenshot of Google Notebook in action

As you can see, you can have multiple notebooks for whatever categories you like. Adding items is easy: click "New note" and type in whatever you want. Easier still, when you're on a webpage, click "Clip" and the URL appears in your notebook. If you select text or an image, that appears along with the URL. Below each items there's a small "Add a comment" box where you can type a note to yourself.

So, it's quick & easy, which alone would make it helpful. The best part, though, is that being web-based you can use your notebooks anywhere. The clippings I saved when I was at work are in the notebook for me now that I'm at home.

Other than the usual (legitimate) concerns about what Google will do with all the information it gets about you, I can't see anything to dislike about this nifty little application. It's worth a look.

Other Google stuff I love: Alerts  |  Analytics  |  Maps  |  More maps  |  Another map

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