COLLEGE SEEKS $9 MILLION BOND

September 20, 2000 12:00 am

A building for Brookings remains part of a $9 million bond levy proposal placed on the Nov. 7 ballot by the board of Southwestern Oregon Community College.

The board made the decision Aug. 28 as part of its published agenda, but the proposal did not receive press attention until the legal notice of the election was advertised by the Coos County Elections Office.

I went back to the board and laid out some scenarios, college President Steve Kridelbaugh said Monday. We believe that we really need some facilities at the college.

The bond issue would earmark one-third $3 million toward a building in Brookings, and two-thirds $6 million toward a science and technology building on the main campus in Coos Bay.

The one-third split matches the share in property tax revenues generated in Curry County and the remainder of the Southwestern District, which includes all of Coos County and Western Douglas County.

The college estimates that the bond would cost taxpayers about 12 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, or $12 per year for a $100,000 home.

We believe, given the results of the last election that voters are not interested in property tax increases, Kridelbaugh said, But we have these needs.

Our recommendation is that we still believe that if we want to move our district and college into the 21st Center, at a minimum we need good facilites for programs in Curry County, and to pepare people for new jobs in the 21st Century we need science and technology facilities here.

Dropped from the proposal turned down by district voters last spring is an expansion of the college library, and additional resources for the colleges outreach programs. The funds for a facility in Brookings have been cut from $4.5 million in last springs vote to $3 million on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Its not going to be what we would have done at $4.5 million, but its going to be a lot better than the facility than we have now, Kridelbaugh said.

Districtwide last spring, in all but two Douglas County precincts, the vote was approximately 65 to 35 percent against the Southwestern levy proposal.

When Curry County was added to the college district, a million dollars was set aside for a building. Some funds were used to buy the building now being used, the former community library at Alder and Redwood.

As enrollment and programs grow through the Brookings center, a large portion of the classes are held away from the building.

Ill bet we would increase our enrollments down there by 30 to 40 percent. if we had a decent facility, Kridelbaugh predicted.

Asked about other resources tuition, state funding or grants that might be available for funding, he said there are none at the present time.

We need these facilities and were going to the voters to pay for these facilities, Kridelbaugh said.

Asked about promises made about property taxes when Curry County joined the college district, Kridelbaugh said the promise has been kept. Property taxes for education were $5 a thousand then and they are $5 a thousand now.

Any property tax for a bond issue would be in addition to the current property taxes.