By Glenn Wohltmann
A bond measure with nearly a billion dollars of improvements for Las Positas and its sister college, Chabot, will go to the voters in June.
The measure would get rid of the modular and portable buildings currently on campus. It would build new classrooms, three new lecture halls, new health science classrooms, new facilities for the welding department and horticulture, and new offices for faculty.
Putting the $950 million bond measure before the voters was approved unanimously on March 1 by the Chabot-Las Positas board of trustees.
“There’s no doubt there’s need in our area, so let’s go for it,” Trustee Arnulfo Cedillo told his fellow board members.
The bond measure will go to a vote on June 7, the same day as the California Primary.
Mike Ansell, chemistry professor and chairman of Las Positas’ facilities committee came before the board to urge it to support the measure.
“We are going to be at capacity this year, which is great,” Ansell told the board, adding that the college already needs “one, perhaps two chemistry labs.”
The bond measure would also include energy efficiency measures, including solar power. All new buildings would meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standards.
Discussion at the meeting focused largely on the polling numbers. According to Barry Barnes of TBWB Strategies, 75 percent of likely voters would approve of the plan if it were voted on in June. That number was slightly higher if it were voted on in the November general election, but some trustees worried that local school districts also were planning on putting bond measures before the voters, which could cause voter backlash.
John Fairbank of FM3 research said the college district had good name recognition among those polled.
“Two-thirds of your voters has either taken a class or someone in their family has,” Fairbanks told the board. “This is where veterans come to be retrained.”
The measure would cost an average of $92.12 per year, according to Loranzo Legaspi, the district’s vice chancellor of business services. Legaspi said he based his estimate on the area’s median home value of $376,000.
If approved, the money would be doled out in $200 million increments every three years, beginning next years.