CVTC to create training center for heating, cooling technologies

June 18, 2013

From “CVTC to create training center for heating, cooling technologies” — Employer demand for technicians skilled in the newest energy-efficient heating and cooling technologies is prompting Chippewa Valley Technical College to budget $1.3 million toward training facilities.

Vacant building space in CVTC’s Transportation Center on its West Campus would undergo transformation into a training center in new heating, ventilation and cooling systems.

“We’d like to start a new program called sustainable facilities management,” said Doug Olson, the college’s executive director of facilities and community relations.

Companies have been interested in upgrading their heating and cooling systems to more energy-efficient ones, Olson said, but they’ve been reluctant due to a lack of technicians who know how to program and maintain the latest high-tech computer-controlled systems.

Vehicle bays in the Transportation Center were too small for newer semitrailer chassis, requiring CVTC to move that program into a leased building last year, leaving its old space empty.

“The existing space had sat idle, so we decided to renovate that space and deploy it again,” said Kirk Moist, CVTC’s director of finance and budgeting.

Renovations to the Transportation Center still would need approval from the Wisconsin Technical College System Board and other state panels before work could begin, Olson noted.

Also included in CVTC’s proposed 2013-14 budget is ongoing renovation to the college’s Business Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave.

The college has been modernizing its main building for the past three years and is continuing this coming school year with more than $1 million in renovation projects, Moist said.

Most of the work is designed to move staff offices and other areas students seldom visit to the basement level, freeing up space on the main floor.

“Anything that’s either student-focused in terms of classrooms, labs or student services, we want on the first floor,” Olson said.

Carried over from the previous year’s budget is spending toward the $7.9 million Energy Education Center planned for the West Campus.

School officials have said that center — a combination of remodeling and additions to existing buildings — only would be done when about $1 million in private sector donations is received.

Tax impact

Even with a rise in capital projects proposed in the 2013-14 budget, the impact on taxpayers and increase to CVTC spending is small.

“We’re describing this as a ‘stagnant revenue environment,’ ” Moist said.

Federal and state contributions to CVTC also will be similar to what they were for the 2012-13 budget, he added.

Property taxes collected by CVTC are expected to decline by $400,000. The result to homeowners will be a 41-cent tax increase for CVTC on property tax bills that will be mailed in December for a home valued at $100,000.

Technical colleges currently are held to one of the strictest property tax levy limits in Wisconsin, which Moist anticipates will be relaxed in the upcoming state budget. That still will only allow CVTC to raise its tax levy in proportion to the value of new construction in its district — similar to the levy limits placed on municipal governments.

The proposed property tax levy for CVTC is $35 million out of a 2013-14 budget with total spending of $90.9 million.

Property values are again projected to fall in CVTC’s 11-county tax district.

“We are predicting it will fall one more time and that will be the fifth year in the row that has happened,” Moist said.

Valued at $20 billion in the current budget, Moist projects a 1.36 percent drop in property values, settling at $19.78 billion in the 2014 fiscal year.

The Technical College System Board did agree to raise tuition by 4.5 percent for the upcoming school year.



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