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Update On Plans For Oakhurst Community College

OAKHURST — In June 2016 voters approved Bond Measure C, State Center Community College’s capital improvement bond. Not long after it passed, community outreach began, with representatives of the State Center Community College District (SCCCD) holding a series of public meetings, and a committee formed to oversee the distribution of some $485 million for facilities construction and expansion. Oakhurst is expected to receive about $25 million from that bond.

The Measure C & E Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee is made up of nine members. In addition to Measure C, the committee also is responsible for oversight of Measure E, the SCCCD’s earlier capital improvement bond, which passed in 2002.

The role of the committee is to oversee expenditures and let the public know if money is being spent as promised in the ballot measure. Among other responsibilities, the committee reviews expenditures to ensure that no bond proceeds are used for instructor or administrative salaries or other operating expenses unrelated to the bond. The criteria for selection to the oversight committee are established by Prop 39 and includes specific representation.

The Citizen’s Oversight Committee held a meeting last month and the following updates were provided and actions taken:

  • Currently, Oakhurst Community College Center is comprised of portable buildings.
  • The District will use Measure C funds to build a permanent facility in Oakhurst to better serve the mountain communities.
  • The SCCCD Board approved Odell Planning and Research of Oakhurst to serve as California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) consultant on this project.

“The site selection process for a new permanent Oakhurst College Center campus is making excellent progress,” says SCCCD public information officer Lucy Ruiz. “Odell Planning & Research has been working on the site selection analysis in conjunction with a working group of SCCCD administrators.”

Ruiz explains that sites are being evaluated using criteria that include site access, terrain, community location and visibility, compatibility with governmental plans and policies, proximity to utilities and services, aesthetics, and hazards.

“Eleven sites are being evaluated with the goal of narrowing down the number of sites to a shortlist for final consideration. Although the analysis is showing that a number of the sites appear to be preferable to others, the study is still gathering information on all of the sites submitted within the Oakhurst community.”

When completed and reviewed by the SCCCD administration, the site selection report will be released for public review and comment, Ruiz adds.

“The report will make recommendations but the decision on the site will be ultimately up to the SCCCD Board with community input. It is anticipated that the report will be completed and released for review and comment in the fall.”

 

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