In an April 5 special election, voters in the college’s four-and-a-half-county service area are being asked to approve a $13.4 million general obligation bond over 15 years for the College.
College president, Dr. Bill Giddings says that this is the only way they have to renovate and improve buildings and facilities in which they teach students.
The bond would support four main areas: Facility upgrades to enhance student learning, advanced technology, high school partnerships and college-wide energy systems. A total of $7.25 million will be spent on improvements in classrooms and student support areas, including expansion of the heavy equipment, diesel technology, and nursing program areas. An additional $2.3 million would support advanced technology which includes a minimum of $750,000 to be invested in high school partnerships. The remaining $3.1 million will enhance college-wide energy systems. Giddings says that the NCC Board of Trustees directed college administration to conduct a facilities assessment in 2008 to evaluate the planning processes for growth, development and renovation of college facilities. The extensive research and analysis resulted in a final report that recommended the board of trustees explore funding options to address the immediate facility needs.
Giddings says a third or fewer of the community colleges in Iowa have not had a general obligation bond at some time in their history. In fact many of them have had several general obligation bonds for construction, and NCC has never needed one until now. Plus, he says bond issues are not renewable; they are used to generate money for specific projects that will help address the specific needs of the school’s growing student population.
Cost of the bond is 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. For example, for a property with $100,000 assessed value; the cost is about $16.42 per year. The bonds impact on an average bare acre of agriculture land is 31 cents a year, or $49.60 per quarter section of land.
Giddings stresses that the sources of funding for the Lifelong Learning Center and construction of instructional facilities are completely separate, and neither funding source could be used to construct the other type of building. He says the Lifelong Learning Center funding sources were many and varied, and had nothing to do with the bond.
He says Northwest R-E-C made a low-interest loan available and the S-C-D-C made a $50,000 no-interest loan available, too.
He says these sources of funding are not available for instructional facilities, nor would the college have been able to bond for the Lifelong Learning Center.
By Scott Van Aartsen
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