The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday, July 7, to place a $295 million bond measure on the November 4 ballot.
According to SMC, the measure would fund “capital projects designed to improve the teaching of science, nursing, math, technology, media, and emerging high tech fields.” The measure will need a 55 percent approval for passage.
“Community-based education is critically important for people to sustain and improve their lives,” said SMC Board of Trustees Chair Rob Rader. “With this safety and modernization measure, the college will have the infrastructure needed to fulfill its educational mission.”
SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang said, “The college has a strong record of responsible spending of bond funds. The new support will allow us to provide important needed renovations to our facilities so that we can continue to be the number one community college.”
The Board’s action comes after the college conducted an extensive facility needs assessment and internal educational needs review, SMC said. The review identified a number of building deficiencies and a critical need to meet new safety, energy, and technology standards.
A survey of Santa Monica and Malibu residents taken earlier this year showed that SMC is well used by the community and is highly regarded. Ninety-four percent of respondents considered the college an important part of the community; 85 percent said the college’s performance is excellent or good; and 58 percent reported that they or someone in their immediate family have attended the college.
The survey also showed that 68 percent of respondents would likely vote yes on a $295 million bond measure to construct and equip math and science laboratories; improve student training in science, technology, media, communications, computers, and emerging high-tech fields; replace deteriorating buildings; upgrade fire safety; achieve energy savings; and complete earthquake repairs.
The major projects to be funded by the bond measure include:
A replacement Math and new Science Wing on the main campus;
A new Career Opportunity and Job Training Building on SMC’s satellite Bundy Campus;
Media and Technology-Driven Programs Complex;
Replacement Corsair Stadium;
New Bus Pullout and Shelter on Pico Boulevard;
Joint Use Library and Educational Improvements in Malibu: SMC, the City of Malibu, and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District are working to develop a college-level library that could be used by SMC students who live in Malibu, as well as local high school students and residents.
The bond measure also calls for putting aside 2.5 percent of the money toward energy-efficient features. Other projects include safety upgrades and improvements to the Health and Fitness and the Drescher Hall buildings on the main campus; seismic upgrades to the east wing of the Madison Campus; and infrastructure improvements for business and facilities, utilities, and technology.
In approving the bond measure, the Board noted that SMC’s bond program was in line with the effort underway at 10 other area community colleges and that the cost of the bond would be approximately $1.12 a month for renters and $7.34 a month for the average homeowner or condominium owner in Santa Monica and Malibu.