Initiative aims at local Sierra College campus | SierraSun.com

Initiative aims at local Sierra College campus

Renée Shadforth

On Nov. 2 voters in Truckee and North Tahoe will have the choice to vote for or against Measure H, a $35 million bond initiative that would pay for a permanent Sierra College campus in Truckee.If passed, the measure would form a school facilities improvement district to purchase a 72-acre parcel on McIver Hill for a permanent campus capable of handling 500 full-time students by the year 2015. Property owners would pay between $15 and $16 per $100,000 assessed value on their homes over approximately 25 years.The measure needs a 55 percent majority to pass, a threshold voters in Sierra College’s four-county district were unable to meet in March with the failed $384 million Measure E.However, voter support for Measure E in March was stronger locally than elsewhere in the Sierra Joint Community College District, said Dave Ferrari, Sierra College trustee for the Truckee and North Tahoe areas.”The good news is this time the special facilities improvement district is within the boundaries of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District,” Ferrari said. “That money has to stay within that district. With the other bond, there was concern of money going elsewhere; with this bond that’s not possible.”Ferrari said Sierra College plans on running a $50,000 campaign for Measure H, with some funds leftover from the Measure E campaign and another $40,000 or so to raise. Sierra College cannot use school funds for the campaign.Currently, Sierra College leases a 10,000-square-foot building in the Pioneer Commerce Center for its Truckee center. It serves approximately 350 students – 60 percent more than when it moved to the Pioneer Commerce Center from Tahoe Truckee High School in spring 2003.The college currently offers university transfer curriculum, not-for-credit community and vocational education and small business development courses.A permanent campus would be a single-story building of approximately 35,000 square feet. A preliminary concept includes a central student lounge area, a large performing arts classroom, computer labs, adjoining classrooms and administrative offices, said Frank DeCourten, dean of the Sierra College Truckee campus.”[The new campus] is bigger because we need more space, but it’s not monstrous,” he said. “It’s suited for the size of our community.”DeCourten added that Sierra College is currently working with the Truckee Donner Land Trust to create a conservation easement on the property.If Measure H passes, college officials estimate the permanent campus would be open by fall 2008.