SBCC Bond Measure on November Ballot?

Santa Barbara City College trustees may place a bond measure on the November ballot in hopes of sprucing up aging buildings. College administrators estimate $310 million worth of improvements are needed on the main campus, it was announced at a special meeting last week, but they have not officially filed the resolution or finalized an amount.

In 2008, Santa Barbara County voters passed Measure V, a $77 million bond measure to renovate structures including the Garvin Theater, the humanities building, the theater arts building, and the pedestrian bridge connecting the east and west campuses.

Given difficult economic times following the 2009 recession, SBCC President Lori Gaskin said the board had previously determined “it wasn’t the time” to place a measure on the ballot, but had been determining its renovation needs. The school has plenty of “well-loved” buildings — some have existed for 80 years — and the board is now considering the bond measure. If it passes, the 51 portable classrooms on the main campus — a number of day and night classes are held inside — would be replaced with a permanent building. The California Coastal Commission recently told the college to remove all of its portables, a process it has already started. “This bond measure has nothing to do with growth,” Gaskin said, adding there will not be any “elaborate” new buildings. “We’re gutting and renovating what we have.”

The Santa Barbara Unified School District’s parcel-tax measure passed in November 2012 (after the measure failed to get a two-thirds majority in June 2012). Funds from the parcel-tax measure can be used for operational costs, while Prop 39 general obligation bond measures are only to renovate or replace facilities.

The SBCC board will vote on whether or not to go ahead with the bond measure at an upcoming board meeting; the deadline to file a resolution with the county is June 26.

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