Proposition N yields funding for Mesa
November 28, 2006
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Mesa will be receiving improvements and renovations campus wide thanks to voters who passed Proposition N.
Prop. N gives the San Diego Community College District $870 million to pay for new facilities and buildings on the three campuses.
“The San Diego Community College District, like most districts in the state, has been affected negatively over the years by severe under funding, especially in the construction and facilities support areas,” said Dr. Constance Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District.
The proposition was put on the ballot because of lack of funding from California.
“California has not made a strong investment in this aspect of community college support,” Carroll said. “Thus, community colleges organizations like ours have turned to the local voters to support the kinds of improvements that will ensure that our students receive the highest quality education possible, which requires state-of-the-art facilities and technology.”
Prop. N is a continuation of Prop. S, a similar proposition passed in 2002. Prop. S did not finish all of the projects that were intended to be completed because of the rising construction costs and changes in project designs.
“Proposition N and S will support facilities to match the needs of our students,” said Mesa President Rita Cepeda. “Classrooms, labs and equipment will keep up with the instructional and educational needs of students in the 21st Century.”
Prop. N was put on the ballot now to ensure that construction costs will not rise any further.
“Were we to delay, the cost of construction will continue to rise due to inflation and the buildings will be even more costly to build,” Carroll said. “To avoid interruption in our plans and to ensure improvements for our students, Proposition N was developed and, as you can see, was strongly supported by voters.”
According to Carroll, about $25 million has been spent on Prop. S and about $80 million is awaiting completion of designs and approvals.
“Proposition S has not run out of money,” Cepeda said. “There are sufficient funds allocated to support the projects established on the list. In fact, we have not even completed the issuance of the last sale of bonds.”
Opponents of Proposition N think that the money from Proposition S was poorly spent.
“The money has been badly mishandled and to reward that incompetence is a bad idea,” said Richard Rider, Chair of the San Diego Tax Fighters. “We see no evidence that it should change with Proposition N.”
Rider said that most students are only taking one class or taking classes online rather than going to the campus so the estimation of how many students there are is inaccurate.
“There is no indication that enrollment is going up, there are indications of fewer students, not more,” Rider said.
The Humanities, Languages, and Multi-Cultural Studies building was paid for and completed under Prop. S.
All of the designs and architectural costs have been provided for the new parking structure and Mesa college police substation under Prop. S. Mesa is just waiting for approval from city council.
A new Allied Health building is underway in the design process.
Owners of homes and commercial properties in district boundaries will pay for Prop. N. Owners will be required to pay the same amount as they did under Prop. S, a $25 tax per $100,000 in assessed value. Under Prop. N the tax will be extended from 2030 to 2043.
“Mesa’s share of Proposition N dollars will support the build-out of the Mesa College Facilities Master Plan,” Cepeda said.
Mesa will receive a Mathematics and Science building that will be almost the size of the LRC, an Instructional Technology Building, and a Instructional Art Facility.
The bond will include renovations for the bookstore, cafeteria, materials and supplies storage. It will also make improvements to walkways, utilities, and surface parking.
Some Mesa students are optimistic about the new renovations.
“I hope to have air conditioning in more of the rooms and have more technology,” said Mesa student Emily Barnes.