To update aging facilities and provide technology needed for an evolving job market, the San Mateo County Community College District is putting a $388 million bond measure on the November ballot.
At a July 9 meeting, the school board discussed a potential bond measure in November 2014 and voted July 23 to authorize the measure that would allow for construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of college facilities, including furnishing and equipment for school facilities that encompass 550 acres and more than 1.6 million square feet of classrooms, labs and other instructional space. Some of these facilities are 50-year-old buildings that have never been touched, said Barbara Christensen, director of community and government relations for the district.
“Unfortunately, it (another measure) didn’t pass a few years ago and we had a list of projects we needed to complete and that list has grown,” said board President Karen Schwarz. “There’s no other way to do capital improvement projects.”
The district worked with Godbe Research to do surveys to determine when was best to go out for the bond measure that requires 55 percent approval. Numbers were higher for a November 2014 election over a November 2015 election. In addition, more than 70 percent of surveyed voters would go for the $388 million measure, while a $477 million measure was less popular, Schwarz said.
The potential changes would be made to prepare College of San Mateo, Cañada College and Skyline College students for universities and high-demand jobs; modernize math and science
classrooms and labs; upgrade roads; upgrade computer, biotechnology and job training facilities; upgrade access for disabled students; ensure classrooms meet earthquake, fire and safety requirements; and replace aging infrastructure with energy efficient systems, according to a staff report. For example, the money could be used to construct a new science building at Cañada and an environmental science building at Skyline, Christensen said.
“Building 1 at Skyline is a large admin building that has never worked well,” Christensen said. “It is built around a hallow floor and is an inefficient building.”
The bond measure would work out to be an annual property tax increase of $8.22 per $100,000 of assessed value. Funds would also go to modernizing or constructing classrooms and other facilities for workforce training; multidisciplinary academic areas; kinesiology; physical training; public safety; early-childhood education; and for humanities, social sciences and fine and performing arts activities, according to a staff report.
Previously, the district’s $564 million Measure H modernization bond measure was on the November 2011, but fell short of the 55 percent approval needed. Bond measures in 2001 and 2005 passed.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105