Upgrades and expansions coming to West Campus

Natalie Murphy



The Board of Regents voted unanimously March 21 to use part of the 2015-bond package to expand the Workforce Development Center located on West Campus.

Lenora Keas, vice president of workforce development and strategic initiatives, explained to the regents that right now there are only 16 welding booths and not enough classrooms or parking spaces on West Campus.

“Right now they are scheduling welding classes until 11 p.m. just to meet the demand,” Keas said.

She also said many programs on that campus would benefit from more “laydown space,” or covered areas to work outside.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Keas said.

The additions will cost a total of $1.4 million that has been set aside for add on options.

The board also took a vote on issuing $10 million from the most recent bond package to be used for capital improvements. According to Jackson, this will be used to design the first three buildings, the first part of the central plant, the parking lots, and other necessary infrastructures.

The vote passed with eights in favor and Regent Guy Watts abstaining from the vote.

During the meeting, the board also heard from Claudia Jackson, executive director of strategic communications and government relations, about some of the proposed bills at the state level and how they might affect the school.

Jackson said Senate Bill 2 would roll back the property tax rate the college is allowed to collect from 8 percent to 5 percent. This would further hinder Del Mar’s ability to get funding for the school.

House Bill 1561 could also have a big effect on the college. According to Jackson, the way community colleges work right now, they are allowed to deny another college’s bid to offer a class to students with in their district.

“If another school thinks they’re big enough and has enough resources, it will become a Wild, Wild West free market. That may have some benefits,” Jackson said. “But there may some institutions that may decide to take significant advantage of that, we could no longer tell them no.”

The meeting ended with the 7 remaining regents voting, after closed sessions, to open an investigation into potential ethics violations of Regents Watts. According to Augustin Rivera Jr., general counsel to DMC, this does not mean that any action has been taken or even will be taken, but that the Board is looking to find out if Watts has violated the bylaws of the Regents.

The next Board of Regents meeting will be at 1 p.m. April 4.

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