News Gcs Painter Hits Ground Running As Facilities Chief - Garrett College
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Campus News

February 27th, 2023

GC's Painter hits ground running as facilities chief

PAC completion, turf field start-up, future projects are all on his radar

Chris Painter

Chris Painter

Chris Painter couldn't have picked a more hectic time to become Garrett College's director of campus facilities and capital projects.

Painter's first official day on the job was December 3rd – which just happened to be the grand opening of the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College. And that project isn't completely closed out, as the College works through the "punch list" of final items with the general contractor and architect.

With the PAC moving toward completion, the College is already into its next capital project, a multi-purpose turf field that is expected to be ready in time for the August launch of GC's women's soccer program. And the proposal process has already started for the project that follows the turf field – a partial renovation of the 600 Building that will include a new cafeteria.

Painter said he's had no feelings of "buyer's remorse" stepping into the fast-paced position.

"With so many exciting projects to finish and new ones to begin, I know I can make a positive contribution to our College," said Painter.

Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president, said Painter made an immediate positive impression across campus.

"Chris has been engaged since Day 1," said Midcap. "He quickly got to know his staff, the status of our projects, and the College's top facilities and capital projects priorities.

"When we had water line breaks during the holiday freeze, he was right on campus," added Midcap. "And when his staff was clearing snow last month, he was right on a plow."

Mary Cummings, executive director of the Performing Arts Center at Garrett College, said Painter "is a perfect fit to the Garrett College culture of working together as a team to provide the best possible outcomes."

"Chris has jumped in with both feet to find the solutions on a day-to-day basis for his team as well as the end user here at the PAC," added Cummings.

Painter, originally from Pittsburgh, is a retired federal law enforcement official. He and his wife, Heidi, moved to McHenry full-time in 2018 – four years after buying a local property that they intended to turn into a vacation home.

"We quickly began to think that this just might be the perfect place to build our dream home," said Painter, whose grandchildren live right across the street from the College.

Painter, a former air marshal and federal administrator, said he was "looking for something different" right around the time former Director Kathy Meagher announced she was leaving GC.

"I did a good bit of research about the College and I knew this was where I wanted to be," Painter said. "I'd like to utilize my knowledge and skill set to help make the College the best it can be."

Painter is hoping to quickly finalize the PAC's completion and turn more of his attention to the turf field.

The Garrett College Board of Trustees recently awarded both the construction and installation contracts for the multi-purpose turf field. The field will be home to the College's softball, baseball and women's soccer teams.

The College is tentatively scheduled to add a fourth tenant – a men's soccer program – as early as 2024.

The 600 Building renovation, while not scheduled to start until Fiscal Year 2025, moved into high gear last month with documentation of the project's mission and scope. The highest priority is relocating the 41-year-old cafeteria and kitchen currently located in the 400 Building to a larger location in the 600.

Painter views his two primary responsibilities – maintaining current facilities and overseeing development of new and renovated spaces – as critical to supporting GC's students and other users.

"Garrett College provides students with a great education and the community with high-quality programs and services – all of which require outstanding facilities," said Painter, noting in particular the public use of the Community Aquatic & Recreation Complex as well as the PAC. "The possibilities here are endless."