Funding sought for LTCC expansion |

Funding sought for LTCC expansion

Susan Wood

With a growing student body in the last 13 years, the Lake Tahoe Community College is counting on Gov. Gray Davis signing a bill that restores $98 million in funding for 108 colleges in the state.

Three components of LTCC improvements amounting to about $745,000 await the governor’s signature due by Oct. 14.

LTCC needs $620,000 to develop its preliminary plans for the library triple the the size of its current, second-story facility.

“Those dollars can’t be switched to any other source,” LTCC President Guy Lease said.

State Assemblyman Tim Leslie and Sen. Tom “Rico” Oller supported the bill that passed on a 78-0 vote in the Assembly and 38-1 in the Senate.

The delay in funding could extend the opening date of the estimated $7.2 million library project by a year, as Lake Tahoe loses much of its construction time through the winter season. Plus, inflation could raise construction spending if further delays occur.

The project requires approvals by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a state architectural division, South Tahoe Public Utilities District, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department and a civil engineer.

The library capital outlay project was targeted to break ground by May 2003 and open its doors by January 2005. The current 4,000-square-foot library will be converted to five classrooms.

“We don’t have a lot of things in our library that one of our college size should,” Lease said.

Another necessary improvement includes instructional equipment totaling $70,000. The college aims to replace its computers every three years. Thirty are up for replacement.

Lease wrote in a letter to the governor that community colleges are faced with the largest student enrollment increase in all the higher education arena, yet they’ve received the smallest boost in funding at 3.2 percent.

According to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, the University of California system received 4.8 percent more in funding and Cal State gained 6.4 percent.

Although LTCC’s enrollment has remained flat in the last few years, its student body has almost tripled in the last 13 years from about 600 to 1,600.

“We’re definitely doing something to assist the community colleges. The amount just hasn’t been decided,” said Hilary McLean of the governor’s office.

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