College studies new ballot initiative for local campus
Sierra College officials might have a Plan B to build a permanent Truckee campus on McIver Hill.
Two months after the junior college system’s Measure E failed with voters, the college’s board of trustees wants to place a local special facilities improvement district on the November ballot. In the March primary, a majority of voters in the college district’s four-county area rejected Measure E, a $394 million bond proposed to fund construction projects on the system’s five campuses. In Nevada County, however, 55 percent of the people who voted backed the bond, which would have garnered $19 million for a Truckee campus.
“We have [voter] support here for what we are trying to accomplish in Truckee with a campus at McIver Hill,” said trustee Dave Ferrari, who represents area 2, which coincides with the boundaries of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.
The college extended its escrow through the end of the year on the 76-acre McIver Hill site, which is located south of Interstate 80 and east of state Route 89 south. College officials have had their eyes on a McIver Hill campus since 2001, when Truckee courses were still held at Tahoe Truckee High School.
The college’s vision for McIver Hill includes a 35,000-square-foot, 10-classroom facility with a library and student dorms. If the land sale goes through, Ferrari said the trustees will look into forging partnerships with local agencies for shared use of the facilities.
For now, Truckee’s Sierra College campus will continue to operate out of leased space in the Pioneer Commerce Center.
“We’ve already outgrown our lease location in Truckee,” Ferrari said of the 650 students the temporary campus serves each year.
Most of those students aren’t considered full time. Each year there are approximately 150 full-time equivalent students at the Truckee campus. College officials estimate a campus on McIver Hill could serve 500 full-time equivalent students per semester.
If the facilities district makes it to the November ballot, Ferrari said the cost to residents will not be more than Measure E’s $19 per $100,000 on assessed value per year.
“What I will guarantee as a trustee is we don’t want to go any higher,” Ferrari said.
The college’s board of trustees will vote on a resolution to get the improvement district on the November ballot by the end of June, Ferrari said.
The Sierra College board of trustees will meet in Kings Beach on June 8. Stay tuned to http://www.sierracollege.edu and the Sierra Sun for details as the date nears.
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