The Santa Monica College (SMC) Board of Trustees discussed the college’s Facilities Master Plan Update and potential means of financing the Modernization Phase of the project at its meeting earlier this month.
At the meeting, the board also unanimously voted to approve a contract with the Gensler architecture, design, planning and consulting firm, in an amount not to exceed $90,000, to revise and update the existing master plan, which has not been done since the plan was first created in 1998.
SMC officials gave a report to the board on the Master Plan Update and ways of financing it, noting the strong support of the community to place a $295 million SMC Safety and Modernization bond measure on the November ballot.
This bond measure would fund Phase III — or the Modernization Phase — of the Facilities Master Plan, which is currently under way, said Don Girard, SMC senior director of government relations and institutional communications.
Phase I and Phase II were funded 65 percent with local bonds and 35 percent from other sources — and at its March retreat the board provided direction to staff to explore financing Phase III at the same ratio.
The college has already secured about $40 million in state funding for the Replacement Math and Science Building — which is part of the Modernization Phase — and has identified three other projects that could be eligible for additional state funding, SMC president Chui L. Tsang wrote in a staff report.
Currently, staff is preparing Initial Project Proposals for these three projects, which are expected to be submitted to the state next month.
To determine public support of placement of a bond measure on the November ballot, the college conducted two focus groups and a public survey, Girard said. All participants were registered voters of the district and were consdered likely to participate in the November election.
“The response was quite positive,” Girard said.
Sixty-eight percent of the 500 respondents to the public survey and 13 of the 15 focus group members indicated they would likely vote “yes” on a $295 million bond measure for SMC.
The cost of the bond measure would average approximately $1.12 per month for renters and $7.34 per month for homeowners or condominium owners, Girard said.
The bond measure would be used to replace or “modernize” deteriorating buildings, upgrade fire safety, construct and equip math and science laboratories, improve student training in science, technology, media, communications, computers and emerging high-tech fields; achieve energy savings; and complete earthquake repairs.
“Several structures would be upgraded to meet today’s seismic standards,” Girard noted.
There would be citizen oversight and annual performance and finance audits, and none of the bond money would be used to fund administration.
“We have a number of projects that will be critical to the modernization of the college,” Girard said.
Several of those projects are the Replacement Math and Science Extension Building on the Main Campus, a new Career Opportunity and Career Advancement Instructional and Job-Training Building on the Bundy Cam- pus and a Media and Technology-Driven Programs Complex on the Academy Campus.
At the meeting, the Board of Trustees directed staff to prepare documents necessary for a recommendation for a $295 million bond measure on the November ballot.
Girard noted that the board seemed “strongly supportive” of the bond measure.
In developing a proposed bond measure, college staff has identified two additional potential projects — a Joint Use Learning Center in Malibu at Malibu High School and an environmental performance program funded by a 2.5 percent bond issue set aside to fund projects designed to upgrade college facilities to achieve energy or resource use efficiency, Tsang said.
A decision on whether or not the $295 million bond measure will be placed on the November ballot will be made at the July Board of Trustees meeting.