WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 05, 2008

Voters Pass Mt. SAC Bond Measure Resoundingly by 70%

WALNUT, Calif.—East San Gabriel Valley voters resoundingly approved a $353-million bond extension yesterday to continue campus improvements at Mt. San Antonio College. Of the 194,780 ballots cast, 136,253 (69.95%) were in support of Measure RR.

"We are thrilled that the community has shown its solid support of our mission to educate and train the region’s workforce for decades to come,” said Dr. John S. Nixon, president of the state’s largest single-campus community college district. “Given the tough economic conditions of the region, the significance of this resounding support reflects the positive reputation that Mt. SAC has within the community. The funding we receive from this bond extension will allow us to relieve overcrowding with new and renovated facilities that will help foster innovative instruction and learning for our 65,000 students.”

Nixon noted that Measure RR’s passage was largely attributed to broad-based community support, including the valley’s chambers of commerce, city, county and state leaders, and Mt. SAC’s various partners in education.

“We particularly thank our student coalition and the dedicated volunteers who made the compelling case for Measure RR through presentations and grassroots efforts,” said Nixon. “Mt. SAC can now continue building for the future, creating opportunities for tomorrow's students and promoting economic growth in our communities.”

Measure RR is an extension of Measure R, a $221-million bond that was passed by local voters in 2001. It merely extends the Measure R assessments of property owners for nine years, without an increase in the tax rate. The passage of Measure RR qualifies Mt. SAC to receive state matching funds totaling as much as $132 million to complete the planned projects.

Among these projects, Measure RR will finance the renovation and modernization of aging facilities, improvement of handicap accessibility across campus, and completion of earthquake retrofits. New construction will add needed classrooms and labs, establish a new fire training academy, and add a much-needed parking structure, as well as a new business and computer technology complex, library and learning resources center, a gymnasium, a student union/campus center and a child development center.

“These essential projects will address the concerns that students have long expressed about parking capacity, traffic safety, sufficient places to study, and the lack of a campus center,” Nixon noted. “Many of our current classroom buildings—constructed over 60 years ago—were old wards and barracks, originally built when the campus site was a naval facility. Students and faculty were ecstatic over the news of Measure RR’s passage and the prospect of teaching and learning in cutting-edge classrooms and lab facilities.”

The need to accommodate surging enrollment and replace aging buildings has been another key concern of college officials for some time, Nixon said. This fall’s enrollment numbers set a new record—a nearly 7% increase. Enrollment of full-time students in credit courses swelled from 28,359 in 2007-08 to 30,129 in 2008-09. This number is expected to grow at a rate of 1,000 students a year.

"The passage of Measure RR will enable us to more effectively perform our key role as the region’s job training engine for a wide range of professions, including public safety, business, manufacturing, and health and human services,” Nixon said.


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