Measure J funds to come in April

Measure J funds to come in April

Morgan Park, Editor-in-Chief

Around the time Measure J (the $503 million bond measure that will fund new constructions and renovations across the Kern Community College District) passed last November, there was no sure date to expect the first breaking of ground to take place.

That much is still true, but the school now knows when it can expect its first allotment of funds from the bond – the beginning of April.

The school already has a shortlist of projects that are planned and ready to be started, of which one of the first will be the new Veteran’s Resource Center, though they’ll have to wait until they know exactly how much money they’re getting before the first stages of construction can begin.

“We have committees set up, we’re working on getting a budget set,” said Maintenance and Operations director Bill Potter.

Potter touched on just how long of a process the larger construction projects are and how far in advance planning begins prior to construction.

“From the time you sit with your architect and start planning it to the time shovels are in the ground, it takes about two years on a major project,” he said.

“It’s not two years of sitting around and not doing anything, there is work being done.”

According to Potter, right now is a “lag time” before the school has the Measure J funding due in April, but meanwhile, the last two big projects from 2002’s Measure G bond are still in progress: including the new Maintenance and Operations building currently under construction and the planned rebuilding of the bookstore.

“It’s going to be, over the next 20 years, project after project,” Potter said. “There will be times when there will be more than one building being built on campus at once, but we still have to serve 20,000 students here every semester.”

Potter said the process of working around the normal school year and moving buildings to various swing spaces (temporary buildings used while the new one is built) is like fitting together a puzzle.

The school is also looking toward acquiring Proposition 51 (the $9 billion state bond passed in November dedicated to funding construction in K-12 and community colleges) money to assist with scheduled Measure J projects. BC will have to compete with other schools for funds.

“If we can get $10 million for one of these projects, that’s $10 million that we don’t have to spend in Measure J and we can move to another project,” said Potter.