Central Oregon Community College is seeking nearly $42 million in funds for construction projects within the burgeoning college campuses in Bend, Madras, Redmond and Prineville. The state will match that amount, if approved by voters, with an additional $11.47 million.
Student enrollment has increased more than 60 percent just in the past three years as local residents have turned to COCC for job training and education that will ultimately translate into a valuable college degree.
It’s hard to believe that you have to be placed on a waiting list to get into our local community college, but that is exactly what is happening. It just can’t keep up the demand for
The November 3 Ballot Measure 9-73, if approved, will build new health careers and science buildings in Bend, a new technology education center in Redmond, educational campuses in Madras and Prineville as well as additional labs, student learning spaces and clinics for health career programs including nursing, dental and medical assistants and pharmacy technicians. In addition, the funding will allow the college to renovate other buildings to address enrollment increases, expand capacity and modernize facilities.
Sounds like a tremendous opportunity for our communities. And it is. Clearly the funding provides added educational benefits for the entire region. But it does a lot more than that. It boosts our economy and that is something that we cannot afford to ignore.
Numerous jobs in the construction industry will be created with the building and renovation of these new projects. Teacher positions will eventually be added. Local students will have additional education and job training opportunities that will translate to the business community.
COCC made an attempt to get a similar measure defeated last fall, but it was defeated. Perhaps lost in the shuffle of a presidential election.
Why should voters support it now, especially during such challenging economic times? Because it will be a very small price to pay for huge benefits in job creation and educational opportunities.
The measure will cost property owners approximately 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value ($24 a year for the average homeowner).
We urge you to consider this not just as another money measure that you would automatically check “no” on. This particular measure is our chance to raise the bar in education in Central Oregon and create jobs at the same time. Our own little stimulus measure.
Please vote “yes” on Ballot Measure 9-73 (it will be easy as it’s the only measure on the ballot).