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College Board Contemplates November Bond Measure

By Lookout Staff

May 15 -- Santa Monica College officials are gearing up for a possible $295 million bond measure on the November ballot to fund modernization projects on the half-century-old main campus and its satellite facilities.

In a key step Monday, the College Board of Trustees approved a $90,000 contract with Gensler to embark on the college’s first facility master planning process in ten years. The Santa Monica-based architectural firm will return with a report identifying options for campus sites in the fall.

College officials also presented a report Monday indicating that there was public support for a bond measure that, among other things, would replace deteriorating buildings and construct and equip math and science laboratories.

According to the report, 68 percent of the 500 registered voters who responded to a scientific public survey, as well as13 of 15 focus group members, indicated that they would likely vote “yes” on a $295 million bond measure.

“Respondents relied on information that the cost of the bond measure would be approximately $1.12 per month for renters and approximately $7.34 per month for the average homeowner or condominium owner,” according to the report.

The money would be used to replace deteriorating buildings; upgrade fire safety; construct and equip math and science laboratories, and improve student training in science, technology, media, communications, computers, and emerging high-tech fields.

The bond also would bankroll efforts to achieve energy savings and complete earthquake repairs with citizens’ oversight, annual performance and financial audits, according to the report. None of the money would be used for administration.

“The College has already secured approximately $40 million in state funding for the Replacement Math and Science Building, and has identified three other projects that could be eligible for additional state funding,” staff wrote in its report to the board.

During a retreat two months ago, the board directed staff to explore financing
the construction program with a ratio of 65 percent local bonds and 35 percent other sources, the same formula being used for the current construction program.

In developing a proposed bond measure, staff has identified two additional projects -- a Joint Use Learning Center at Malibu High School and a 2.5 percent bond issue set-aside to fund projects “designed to upgrade College facilities to achieve energy or resource use efficiency.”

On July 7, the board is scheduled to consider ordering a bond measure election for the November 2008 ballot.





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