Houston Community College board agrees to put $425 million bond issue on ballot
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Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Community College trustees voted Thursday to place a $425 million bond referendum on the November ballot.
If approved by voters on Nov. 6, the bond would help update classroom technology, build a new medical center facility, expand campuses and boost workforce development programs. It would also phase in a 2 cent to 3 cent property tax increase. The former translates to about $37 annually for the owner of a $150,000 house.
The bonds are needed to cope with enrollment that has jumped from 50,000 to 75,000 in the last five years, leaving the system “bursting at the seams,” said HCC trustee Richard Schechter.
In addition, state funding was cut by about $64 million in the last legislative session, said HCC spokesman Dan Arguijo.
The bond proposal allots $120 million for a new health care education and early college building in the Texas Medical Center. According to HCC officials, the school’s Coleman College for Health Sciences, which was built for 1,500 students, holds 3,500.
The plan also emphasizes workforce development in energy and the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math, said board chairman Mary Ann Perez.
Under the plan, money would be designated for renovations or new construction at all six HCC colleges, including $27 million for a new workforce building in Stafford, $40 million in North Forest for workforce and early college buildings, and $53 million for a new westside campus at Westheimer and Eldridge Parkway.
However, at Thursday’s vote, the trustees pledged to use the bond money first to complete construction of the Hayes Road building, a new campus in Alief.
The promise was an apparent move to appease the Alief ISD board of trustees and the Alief Super Neighborhood Council, which passed resolutions opposing the bond proposal, saying HCC has failed to complete projects promised under an annexation agreement.
The groups also said the $10 million allocated for the Alief campus in the bond proposal is insufficient.
Read at chron.com