On February 15, the Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC) Board of Education will determine whether the college will post a ballot in the May 2023 election.
The measure would seek voter approval for the college to renew the facility’s existing bond to support career and technical education opportunities in Lincoln County.
OCCC President Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge said expanding the university’s ability to offer pioneering workforce training in a variety of professions has been a long-standing goal of OCCC leadership.
“Since I joined OCCC in 2014, I often get the question ‘when will the university of applied sciences offer more training opportunities for students who want to work in the profession?’ After carefully examining demand from employers and students, we concluded that this was definitely an area where we needed to grow. And we don’t have the specialized facilities needed to house entire trading programs,” she said.
Ryslinge said OCCC successfully obtained an $8 million pledge from the state to help fund such facilities. However, the college will not receive state aid if it does not receive significant local funding for the project.
“We partnered with Lincoln County School District and the Port of Toledo to launch a welding program in 2020, she said. “In the intervening years, we have been busy gaining independent accreditation, responding to the pandemic, and adding and expanding other programs (education, early childhood, expanding health programs, and more). Now is the time to move forward to go with a bond to secure the state’s matching funds, build the new trading facility, and ensure the rest of our spaces will evolve to meet the future.
“An extensive welding program is just one of many programs we expect to deliver over the long life of this new building,” said OCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dan Lara. “This facility will be designed from the ground up as an advanced, flexible, industrial space. Virtually all of the fixtures in this facility will be on wheels, allowing classrooms, workshops and other learning spaces to bend over time and adapt to changing needs – the needs of our students and our county’s employers.”
Time of day
The OCCC Board of Education heard a first reading of the ballot title for the proposal at its Jan. 18 meeting and will officially decide at its Feb. 15 meeting whether this bond measure will be presented to voters in the May 2023 election.
During their annual retreat in September 2022, the board members set themselves the goal of raising the matching funds in 2023.
“This project has been in planning since the filing of state funds in 2017,” said Chris Chandler, chairman of the OCCC Board of Education. “Since then, we’ve worked with several agencies and completed impact studies, allowing us to move quickly to designing facilities once we’ve secured the funds.”
Chandler added that the design process involves involvement from local industry, employers and the community.
According to Ryslinge, several factors led the college to choose the May 2023 election over the bond election.
“First, we feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to expand our local investment as far as possible, and acting now means we can ensure that Lincoln County receives the modern and relevant career education it needs – and that it receives the $8 million in appropriate funds from the state towards this construction,” she said. In addition, the bonds that built the College’s existing facilities in Waldport, Lincoln City, and Newport expire in 2025, so we would ask voters to consider replacing the old bond with a new one. . Finally, we have successfully obtained independent accreditation and have built the staff and systems to operate as a truly independent college, no longer dependent on other community colleges for some of our operations. We can and should focus on securing what is needed for students, families and Lincoln County’s employers.
Most community colleges in Oregon are supported by property taxes through two rates: a permanent operations levy rate and a bond rate used to pay for the construction of new facilities and the modernization of existing buildings.
Oregon Coast Community College currently has the lowest combined tax rate of any college in the state, at .3902, or 39.02 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value, according to a release from OCCC.
In contrast, property owners in Clatsop County pay 91.7 cents per thousand, while Lane’s rate is 94.81 cents per thousand and Treasure Valley Community College’s rate is more than $1.22 per thousand, the release states.
“We are proud of our ability to serve our students and our communities as efficiently as possible,” Ryslinge said, “and we will continue to operate in a frugal, responsible manner. colleges even after voters approve this new bond proposal.
Ryslinge said when the College first went to voters to build its existing facilities in 2004, it successfully did so.
“The College delivered what it promised to the community, on time and on budget,” said Chandler, who was on the board before the 2004 bond was approved by voters. “That’s a track record that we’re taking seriously moving forward.”
When voters first approved OCCC construction bonds in 2004, the approved levy rate was 34 cents per thousand in assessed value, according to Ryslinge.
Since 2004, as property values in the county have grown, the tax rate has fallen from 34 cents per thousand. Over the past eight years, the average annual levy has been 24.36 cents per thousand, and the actual levy is expected to be 21 cents per thousand by 2023, the release statistics show.
If confirmed by the OCCC Board of Education in February and approved by voters in May, the existing levy would be replaced by a new levy rate of 26 cents per thousand for bonds that would raise nearly $32 million and match the current $8 million would secure offered by the state of Oregon.
Those funds would cover the cost of the new industrial training facility, as well as the security, technology and other necessary upgrades to College facilities in Lincoln City, Newport and Waldport. The college also plans to maintain and expand the industrial partnership in the Port of Toledo where the welding training facility is located, the release said.
Discussions between the college and local emergency preparedness agencies have begun while plans are underway for emergency preparedness projects that may be funded by bond proceeds.
Projects under discussion include designing the parking lot for the new building on the Newport campus to meet requirements to serve as an emergency helicopter platform for heavy rotorcraft, in the event of a Cascadia seismic event or other disaster .
At Lincoln City’s North Center, a modern dual-fuel generator combined with a low-power FM station could serve to support the city and county’s efforts to communicate with the public and manage events such as the evacuation caused by the 2020 Echo Mountain Complex fires.
The college is working on an engagement strategy to collect more input from residents in south, north, east and central Lincoln County to inform these and other improvements to each of the college’s existing facilities, according to the OCCC release.
“In 2004, Lincoln County voters made a transformational investment in students of all ages and backgrounds by committing to the construction of the amazing buildings the College occupies today,” said Ryslinge. “This spring, following Board approval in February, we will be asking voters to help us take the next step in the continued growth of the College, and the growth and development of our students and our local industries – and of the spectacular county we call home.”
Learn more at oregoncoast.edu/cte, or email [email protected]