LTCC moving forward with bond
May 19, 2014
Facing a decline in revenues and a rise in costs, Lake Tahoe Community College is moving closer to issuing a multi-million dollar bond to help improve existing facilities and potentially create new ones.
Before asking board members and local voters to approve the general obligation bond, however, the college is putting together a list of projects to determine which ones are priorities for funding.
Board members and LTCC officials discussed the potential bond list at a meeting Tuesday.
"If we are going to bring people here," LTCC President Kindred Murillo said Wednesday, "we need to have a college people want to be at."
Although preferences could change by the time the bond list goes to the board for decision, projects considered top priorities at this time include the construction of a university center, a technology infrastructure project and a science modernization project.
The University Center would provide the college with an opportunity to offer four-year degrees on campus, either through a partner university or an evolving California Senate bill.
The technology infrastructure project, on the other hand, would improve things like wireless Internet connectivity throughout the school, and the science modernization work — a capital outlay project — would consist of revamping science classrooms.
"There are so many tools online now to be able to do science classes and experiments," Murillo said. "It's really important to have the technology here, so when students leave and go to a university, they are familiar with those kind of digital tools."
Other proposed improvements on the bond list include building an $18.5 million public safety training center — a capital outlay project which would act as headquarters for the fire academy.
"We're on a pretty fast track right now," Kindred said, regarding the pursuit of a bond, "but I think the board is supportive of this idea."
Roberta Mason, president of the Board of Trustees at LTCC, said she feels issuing a bond is "very important to the college at this time."
"It's not going to be easy," Mason said, "but we feel it's our responsibility to do what's best for the college."
LTCC has undergone hardships in recent years as changes mandated by the state resulted in a loss of almost a million dollars in revenue. Budget reductions and cost-containment strategies culminated in cuts totaling about $2.5 million over the last few years.
Without many additional paths for funding, a bond would help pay for some of the college's needs. A telephone survey was conducted last month and determined that the majority of the community would support a $55 million LTCC bond measure.
About $54 million in bond money would be needed to fund projects currently on the college's bond list. However, Murillo said that amount could be lower by the time everything is finalized.
The next step now will be bringing in an attorney and looking over the finances of the general obligation bond. That will be done May 27, followed by the finalization of the facilities master plan and educational master plan at a June 10 meeting.
The idea is to bring everything in front of the board for a decision on June 24, so the bond can be taken to the county's elections office by July 2 and placed on the November ballot.
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