Measure J funds are being allocated to projects around BC

Alexandra Apatiga, Reporter

Last November of 2016, Kern County citizens voted to pass Measure J, a $503 million bond that would go toward renovations and construction projects within the Kern Community College District, with the first allotment of funds provided in April of this year.

With the first year since Measure J’s passing coming to an end, many students and volunteers who have supported the bond measure are wondering – what has been done so far to improve Bakersfield College?

“The way we’ve spilt up the projects needed to be done here on campus is based off of the allotment of funds we receive,” said Maintenance and Operations director Bill Potter. “We determine how much a single project will cost, the project’s level of priority and the time it would take to complete before we create a timetable for ourselves.”

Using a state program known as FUSION – Facility Utilization Space Inventory Option Net, an online tool to manage and report on California community college facilities – Potter’s department examine every building on campus yearly, down to its wiring, and determine the lifespan of each building.

With this, Potter and this team have created a list of 125 separate projects which will benefit from Measure J.

“Our first batch of funds came in April and will provided $84 million for us to utilize in the first five years.”

Among the first set of projects to be tackled include construction of the Veterans Resource Center, a brand new and renamed three-story ABC Campus Center, repairs and expansion of the parking lots, and improving internal and external Wi-Fi on campus.

“We want to make every dollar count.” said Potter. “In addition to Measure J, we are also hoping to acquire more funds to further possibilities and work on multiple, smaller projects that can be done quickly.”

According to Potter, they also hope to use funds from Proposition 51 – a state bond of $9 billion available for K-12 and community colleges.

“We’ve already had to push back some larger projects due to our limited pool, one that won’t be refilled in another five years,” said Potter.

In all, this expansive project will take over 30 years to accomplish.

“These projects will span over 30 years,” said Potter, “so for however long I’m able to work here at Bakersfield College, I plan to be working here long term to see these projects through.”