Measure J meets Cerro Coso facility needs

CERRO COSO COMMUNITY COLLEGE — At the February meeting of the Kern Community College District, representatives began to lay the groundwork to sell first issuance of Measure J general obligation bonds and prioritize projects.

Measure J, which passed last November, will provide the district with funding to modernize aging facilities and upgrade instructional technologies at all three colleges in the district, Cerro Coso Community College, Porterville College and Bakersfield College. The measure passed by a 65.17 percent margin, receiving 145,217 yes votes.

Cerro Coso President Jill Board expressed gratitude on behalf of the college. “The final results are great news for our students and communities,” said Board.

“We are overwhelmed by the confidence shown by voters who supported Measure J.

“Passage of this bond will allow us to make essential campus improvements and technological upgrades to provide first-class education to our students and better prepare them for university transfer and high demand, high skill jobs.”

The bond is intended to repair aging buildings, classrooms and science labs; provide training equipment; and address urgent and basic repairs to all three colleges.

The measure requires strict fiscal accountability including independent annual financial and performance audits and fund monitoring by an independent citizens’ oversight committee.

For Cerro Coso the funds will be used for building renovation, updating and retrofit; energy conservation projects; gymnasium parking lot remodel; hazardous, safety and ADA projects; paving within property lines; and utility and mechanical upgrades.

When asked how the funds would be divided, Board said she wants the community to understand that Cerro Coso is getting everything it needs to meet its facility and conservation goals.

“We have done a great job in maintaining our facilities over the years, but things change. Parking lots need to be repaired, codes change, technology needs increase and enhanced security measures are now required.

“It all adds up, far exceeding what can be covered by any general or special funding.”

She further explained that Bakersfield and Porterville colleges have much older facilities and have a larger tax base to support their college needs. “Cerro Coso’s facility and conservation needs will be met thanks to our constituents.

“We cannot thank our voters enough for showing such a tremendous outpouring of support for our students and mission,” said Board,

“I also want to thank the Cerro Coso Community College Foundation, Justin O’Neill. Shay Scott and the many volunteers and students who worked so hard on the Measure J campaign.

“I think everyone should be celebrating that fact that the bond passed,” said Board.

Story First Published: 2017-02-17