During its regular August meeting, the Klamath Community College Board of Education approved a resolution to place a $9.85 million bond before voters in the November 5, 2013 election.
The bond, when combined with $7.85 million in capital funding from the State of Oregon and $1.5 million in college funds, will provide all of the funding necessary to complete design and construction of KCC’s Phase Two project, which features three new buildings at the college.
The new buildings will include a new Learning Resource Center featuring General Education (GED), Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) facilities as well as a testing center, tutoring and advising areas and a Teaching and Learning Center, all of which are designed to increase retention and completion rates at KCC while providing a world-class learning environment. Due to space constraints, KCC currently outsources GED, ABE and ESL services.
Phase Two also includes facilities to expand KCC’s Career Technical Education offerings. Those facilities will provide space for additional technical programs. Programs being considered include Advanced Manufacturing, Computer Networking, Welding, CNC Machining, Alternative Energy Technology, Heavy Equipment Applications and allied health programs, including Registered Nursing, Physical Therapy Assistant and Occupational Therapy Assistant.
In addition to the new Learning Center and expanded Career Technical offerings described above, the bond would fund an At Risk Student facility designed to work with students at risk of dropping out of high school in order to ensure that they receive the education and training necessary to gain employment.
“These are students that often fall through the cracks and can easily end up in the criminal justice system or requiring social services,” said KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez. “With this facility, we believe we can catch many of these students and ensure that they have the skills and training to become employed, productive members of our community.”
The project also calls for a new Early Childhood Education facility that would simultaneously work as a training site for students in the program and provide much-needed childcare for KCC students. “During our recent strategic planning process, one thing we heard over and over again was that a lack of available childcare was a barrier preventing many people in our community from attending college and making it difficult for students to complete and be successful,” Dr. Gutierrez said. “This facility would make great improvements in both of those areas.”
At $9.85 million, the levy rate would be $0.14 per $1,000 of assessed value on homes within the Klamath Community College Service District. For a home valued at $150,000, the owner would pay only an additional $21 per year in taxes.
The $7.85 million in state funds being made available for this project represent a one-time appropriation benefit that would be lost if not matched with local monies. A tentative timeline for the project calls for construction to begin in early 2015 and be completed by September of 2016 with the buildings being operational in time for fall term that year.
A recent economic impact report completed by Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. indicates that, historically, for every dollar of support for Klamath Community College, taxpayers see a return of $2.70 in the form of higher tax receipts and avoided social costs.