IVCCD’s Bond Referendum: A Critical Need
Monday / March 25, 2019
By Dr. Chris Duree
On Feb. 13, the Iowa Valley Community College District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling for a special election on April 2, 2019, for voters to approve a bond issue not to exceed $32 million (cost is $3.38 per month extra for an $100,000 assessed home value).
There are few decisions our locally elected community college board members make that are more critical than taking a bond referendum to our District’s voters. When they do, the bond referendum is, of course, newsworthy and receives a considerable amount of attention from the media – as it should. That said, we feel that it is equally important for voters to know why this particular bond referendum is critical to the safety, security, and sustainability of our local community colleges.
In 2017, the District contracted with the TSP Architectural firm in Marshalltown. Architects and engineers conducted a comprehensive analysis and presented cost estimates of what it would take to renew, remodel, and repair our existing infrastructure. Over several months reviewing their findings, the cost was estimated in excess of $30 million if we were going to properly address the needs of our buildings that were built in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. The revenues we receive annually will never allow us to address all of our needs, and our IVCCD Board of Directors had no choice but to hold a special election with the hope that our voters would understand that this is an issue of critical need, and not a wish list.
This bond issue is not about new expensive buildings. The bond issue is about safety, security, and sustainability so that we can remain relevant to the communities we serve. Passage of the referendum will greatly enhance our ability to:
- Support dual credit programs, which allow high school students to receive needed job training and save money on future college credits. The average high school student taking dual credit coursework at our college campuses saves $1,656 annually in future college tuition by earning dual credits locally.
- Expand and improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programming. STEM graduates are in great demand to meet current and future workforce needs.
- Improve and upgrade safety and security across all of our campus facilities to ensure our students, faculty, and staff are protected.
- Improve college facilities to expand business and industry job training and re-training.
Dr. Chris Duree is the Chancellor of Iowa Valley Community College District.