By Chris Hartwell @silienceseen
No end is in sight for building projects at Las Positas. With the passage of Measure A in 2016, $950 million in bonds has been created for improvements and new buildings on the campuses in the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District.
Some of the new projects proposed for Las Positas include improvements for the colleges automotive and welding programs, a new 600 and 800 building for sciences, sand volleyball courts, a parking structure and even a new Verizon phone tower on campus.
Diane Brady, Vice President of Administrative Services, explained the decision-making process. Brady said, “Some of the things that were in the 2012 Facilities Master Plan have not been built. A lot of them have, and some things have morphed over time.”
She said that a new facilities plan will come out in 2018, updating the last plan from 2012 to reflect new developments and direct the changes on campus.
The projects listed in the 2012 Facilities Master Plan not completed using the Measure B bond money will receive priority in their consideration over other proposed projects.
The new plan for the Measure A bond money is currently being developed with an emphasis on the latest needs of the community.
When asked to elaborate, Brady said, “For example, an idea of something that changed since the 2012 master plan would be a large company… that makes busses (is) moving into Livermore. They need something like 600 welders. That tells us we need a bigger welding program than what we knew about in 2012.”
As the new plan is being created, the planning committees have received student input.
The Facilities and Bond Program Vice Chancellor Doug Horner said, “A lot of the new building 100 was driven by student input wanting varied small group study (areas).”
Also, students were the ones to propose having a parking structure in the new plan. Since the student population is projected to increase and the current parking area that is already impacted will get even worse over time, it is considered a new need. In addition, the number of classrooms and classes being created will likely attract more students over time.
The process of selling the bonds to get funding is complex. There are multiple steps involved in the process of getting money for new projects. Measure A simply authorized the sale of bonds for new projects.
The interest rating, credit rating and ultimately the amount of money the district will be paying back are all subject to change, according to Horner.
The first step was the vote in June that authorized the bonds and their subsequent repayment by taxpayers. Next, the credit rating for the school district needs to be improved, which will ultimately lower the resulting interest on the bonds.
After that, a proper interest rate is figured out for the bonds, and they are sent to the market. Since the interest rates change on a daily basis in the open market, all the bonds must be sold on the same day.
If they are not and more must be sold later, the process of finding the new interest rate must be repeated.
Though the new building projects will be further disrupting life on campus, they are worthwhile for faculty and students. Las Positas College President Barry Russell said, “I think that construction project on a campus, especially a community college campus, demonstrates the interest in growth and the interest of the students in moving forward.”
These new projects keep the campus up to date and efficient in a more technologically advanced world. Russell said, “We had old buildings that weren’t providing what we needed for students. They were old classrooms that didn’t have technology integrated into them.”
New technology, equipment and buildings are coming to campus, and they will be brought here with Measure A bond money.