Lake Tahoe Community College secures funding to modernize building
After a year-long lobbying effort, Lake Tahoe Community College recently learned that it was successful in getting the state of California to match $8.8 million worth of local Measure F bond monies.
The money will allow the college to fulfill its promise to the South Shore community: to double its local funding and spend $17.6 million to modernize LTCC’s main building, according to a press release.
When the college originally asked taxpayers to support Measure F in November 2014, it was premised on the idea California would match a portion of the construction costs, allowing for more modernizing and renovating to happen. Shortly after the bond measure passed, then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who was fiscally conservative, adopted a practice to reduce state financial liabilities.
This practice reduced the number of construction projects that were approved annually, including LTCC’s, making the completion of the Main Building work nearly impossible until now.
“The matching $8.8 million will literally transform this campus,” LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco said in a press release. “Without these matching dollars, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re about to do, which is to modernize more of the campus, including our science and art labs. We’ll now be able to roll out the kind of modern furniture and cutting-edge teaching technology we’ve seen in a few classrooms to more of the campus. Every student here will benefit from this, enhancing their learning no matter which room on campus they’re in.”
In the state’s annual budget, legislators agreed to match $8.8 million of existing local Measure F bond monies with $8.8 million of state Proposition 51 funding, giving LTCC a total of $17.6 million for main building modernization as well as safety and efficiency improvements.
Specifically, the funding can be spent on modernizing classrooms including science and art labs, the Disability Resource Center and student support spaces, a new ADA-compliant front entrance to the Main Building, and other ADA, health, and safety improvements within the Main Building.
This construction project was originally submitted to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for consideration back in 2012 as the “Remodel for Efficiency and Science Modernization” project.
In Spring 2018, the college made a conscious effort to ramp up its advocacy efforts to bring these promised funds to South Lake Tahoe, according to the college. In the past 15 months, college leadership participated in more than 50 meetings in Sacramento to help bring matching dollar funding to fruition.
“It took a lot of conversations with state Department of Finance staff, the Chancellor’s Office, the Governor’s office, with our Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, and with various Senate and Assembly leaders and their staff, but this effort has paid off handsomely for our students,” said DeFranco. “The South Lake Tahoe community was promised a modernized community college facility when voters approved Measure F. Our commitment to that promise is what led to this funding finally falling into place.”
It will take LTCC several years to complete the work on the main building while continuing to offer uninterrupted services and classroom learning to students.
For the next year, the work will revolve entirely around project design and planning. Funding to begin these projects will arrive early in fiscal year 2019-20, which begins on July 1.
CORRECTION: This story incorrectly stated the dollar amount for both the money received and total dollars for the construction.