From gazettextra.com: “Forward Janesville supports Blackhawk Tech referendum” — Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

 

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

 

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

 

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College’s August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.

The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.

Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school’s operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.

“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”

The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school’s local funding by $4 million a year.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp – See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140713/beloit_organizations_support_blackhawk_technical_college_referendum#sthash.35OiRFsx.dpuf

“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college’s continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”

The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school’s funding comes from, according to BTC officials.

Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.

If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.

If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.

– See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140722/forward_janesville_supports_blackhawk_tech_referendum#sthash.Wg5uTHh9.dpuf

From beloitdailynews.com: “Blackhawk Tech: More info needed before pursuing referendum efforts” — Those responding to a recent survey mailed out on behalf of Blackhawk Technical College want more information before they can decide if they support a referendum for a tax increase.

More information needs to be provided on how the college is funded through local taxpayer dollars, tuition and state aid before moving ahead with a referendum, according to a news release from Blackhawk Technical College.

“The community survey has told us that we are vital in preparing today’s students for career success and that we play a critical role in providing the highly skilled workforce our communities need to grow and prosper,” Dr. Thomas Eckert, president of Blackhawk said in his message to the District Board on Thursday evening.

Blackhawk Technical College recently mailed a survey to 8,000 taxpayers in Green and Rock counties to seek input on pursuing an April referendum.

“However, it was clear that many of our respondents are unable to explain BTC’s operational budget,” Eckert said, “We feel more comfortable taking time to increase public understanding so voters feel more informed to make a decision.”

Officials from BTC say that because of reduced state aid, state revenue caps in place since 2010 and current cost projections, a shortfall of approximately $3.5 million is predicted for its 2014-2015 budget. Since 2010, Blackhawk has reduced annual operating expenses by more than $2.3 million.

“It was impressive to learn how many residents the college has impacted,” Bill Foster, President of School Perceptions, said in his report to the BTC District Board, “In fact over 50 percent of the respondents have attended at least one class at BTC.”

The BTC District Board will review the necessary reductions later in the spring. A referendum in the 2014 fall election is still under consideration.

A recent legislative change now permits technical colleges to seek funding support from their district communities through an operational referendum.

In November, the BTC Foundation hired School Perceptions LLC to conduct the surveys and assist in data gathering. School Perceptions is based in Slinger, WI, and is recognized for its expertise in gathering information that aids education institutions and their policy boards in their public policy pursuits.

Blackhawk Technical College is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System. BTC has five campus locations in Monroe, Beloit and Janesville, Wis. offering more than 50 programs including two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas. In addition, BTC is a major provider of customized training and technical assistance for the Rock and Green County business community. More than half of all adults living in Wisconsin have accessed the technical colleges for education and training during the last decade.

From gazettextra.com: “Voters reject $49 million measure for Gateway” — ELKHORN — Voters in Walworth and two other counties rejected a $49 million bond measure for Gateway Technical College in Tuesday’s election.

The money would have funded a number of expansion and renovation plans at Gateway’s three campuses, one of which is in Elkhorn.

It also would have meant a $9.73 increase in annual property taxes for each $100,000 of assessed value.

Elkhorn, Kenosha and Racine counties all needed to approve the referendum for the college to go ahead with its plans.

None of them did, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.

Upgrades planned for the Elkhorn campus included improving what Dean Michael O’Donnell said is an outdated building and expanding programs.

Because the referendum failed, Gateway President Bryan Albrecht said the college now must decide which projects it can do with limited funding and which will be pushed back.

“We of course will not be able to do all of them, and some of them may be put on the back burner for many years,” Albrecht said.

That likely means the Elkhorn campus will not be able to offer more classes in fields such as welding and computer numeric control as it planned, Albrecht said.

A public safety training center that would educate first responders from around southern Wisconsin will also be shelved, Albrecht said.

Albrecht said the election results were disappointing, but he vowed to keep demonstrating Gateway’s value.

“We’ll continue to be strong advocates … and make sure that the community realizes what their tax dollars are doing,” he said.

From postcrescent.com: “Upgrades moving forward at FVTC” – Last April, residents approved a referendum totaling $66,525,000 that authorized Fox Valley Technical College to expand facilities.

Behind the referendum was a growing demand for training that current facilities are not able to meet, said Chris Jossart, spokesman for the college.

He said that FVTC fills a vital role in providing skilled workers needed by regional employers to stay competitive. In addition to proving themselves, Jossart said, “the program areas involved have been through a rigorous analysis of industry growth projections.”

Construction on the health simulation and technology center began already last October. Spring will see the start of construction on the public safety training center and the student success center, as well as expansions of the agriculture center and the J. J. Keller Transportation Center. The projects have varying completion dates, starting with fall of this year and continuing through spring of 2015.

A little more than half the funding will be spent on the Public Safety Training Center, the flagship project of the referendum.

“The 93,000 square-foot facility, created in partnership with the Outagamie County Regional Airport, will address capacity needs for training in law enforcement, fire protection, and emergency medical services,” Jossart said.

The health technology center will open first, Jossart said, welcoming students at the min campus in Grand Chute this fall.

“The center will allow students from several programs to better use human patient simulators to prepare for realistic health care and emergency situations within a virtual hospital setting,” he said.

The student center project will provide needed space for supplemental instruction, tutoring, and academic support, Jossart said. The central core of the main campus will be remodeled to create the center, he said.

Space for vehicle inspection and maintenance was behind the expansion of the J.J. Keller Transportation Center, Jossart said. The expansion also allows the college to accept more students.

There is a waiting list, and demand from employers is high for truck driving, diesel technology and automotive technology graduates, he said. The public safety training center is expected to alleviate some of these challenges, too.

An 87 percent jump in enrollment in the last four years in agri-business, the state’s largest industry, required expansion of the agriculture center, Jossart said.

The public referendum also included the purchase of land in Oshkosh and buying the college’s Chilton Regional Center, which was formerly leased, to accommodate future program and campus growth. The Chilton purchase freed up operating dollars to build a small expansion made necessary by enrollment growth of 36 percent since 2008.

Jossart said later this year there are “a number of initiatives to enhance our partnership with K12 education systems to prepare young learners for the skills today’s employers need.”

Statewide, he said, employers are seeking professionals with two-year degrees to a greater extent than ever before.

“We are strategically developing new directives to guide the next generation workforce,” he said.

 

From kenoshanews.com: “Gateway to take $49 million plan to voters” — A new campus building would be planned for Gateway Technical College to house a public safety and training center if voters approve a $49 million referendum in April.

Officials have been looking at possible sites for the facility in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties, said Zina Haywood, college vice president and provost. The Gateway district includes those counties.

The goal is to build the new campus in the center of the district, she said.

The college board on Monday approved putting the referendum on the ballot.

Haywood didn’t have the estimated number of acres for the site. She did say the location would be home to the 30,000 square-foot public safety building with facilities including a driving track for emergency vehicle operators to practice and a mock city street for responders to act out emergencies, at a cost of $15.5 million.

The building would include classrooms, an indoor shooting range and a technical lab.

The referendum question, on the April 2 general election ballot, would ask district taxpayers to approve borrowing to pay for the new campus and other projects. Voters must give their approval for going into debt by $49 million because the school is at its borrowing limit, officials have said.

Haywood said the tax increase from referendum approval was estimated to be $9.73 on a $100,000 home each of the next 20 years.

The anticipated additional cost to operate the new and expanded facilities was about $390,000, Haywood said. That spending will have to come from budget cuts or increased income other than taxes because the state has frozen all 16 state technical colleges’ operating budget tax levies, she added.

Kenosha campus projects would total $7.8 million and include renovations for academic support services; adding a studio for the interior design program, and making way for the district’s barbering program to expand onto the campus.

The borrowed money also would pay for:

— Elkhorn campus construction for new or expanded programs for veterinary technician, barbering, cosmetology, culinary arts, food manufacturing lab and computer numerical control students, $13.6 million.

— Racine campus work to house the fresh water lab, now on the college’s Sturtevant site, and renovating office space, $2.5 million.

— Districtwide energy projects and expansion of the administration center, $7.3 million.

Officials have said the public safety center is needed because police science classes are being taught in a former welding lab, and high-speed pursuit techniques are practiced at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park parking lot.

June 2013 would be the earliest any projects might begin. The public safety center is the largest effort and could take 18 to 24 months to complete, Haywood predicted.

The Wisconsin Technical College System Board will review the plans for its approval at its March meeting.

Gateway has three sites in Kenosha, two in Burlington and one each in Racine and Sturtevant.

 

Western referendum passes

November 7, 2012

From lacrossetribune.com: “Western, North Side school referendums ride high on local support” — Voters appeared to back Western Technical College’s plan to add students and update facilities with a strong showing of support Tuesday for the school’s $79.8 million referendum.

By early this morning, 53.4 percent had voted “yes” with 202 of 211 precincts reporting.

The money will fund six building projects, including remodeling of the college’s technology building and the Coleman and Kumm centers. The extra learning space will allow Western to serve an additional 1,000 students by 2020. It will also benefit the region’s economy, Western President Lee Rasch said.

“There is a skilled worker shortage, and it’s in manufacturing and information technology,” Rasch said. “Those are really key areas for us.”

Property taxes will increase by about $39 a year on homes worth $100,000.

The referendum covers:

  • $32.6 million for an addition to the technology building to combine the school’s mechanical and tech programs.
  • $26.5 million remodel of Coleman Center to update the 89-year-old space with more efficient, flexible learning areas.
  • $10.1 million remodel of the Kumm Center, for new health and science facilities.
  • $4.9 million for a parking ramp
  • $4.1 million expansion of Western’s diesel training facilities.
  • $1.6 million for a greenhouse near Seventh and Vine street

Western’s growth will have a $97 million impact on the regional economy by 2034, according to an economic report by NorthStar Consulting Group. Construction alone will have an estimated economic impact of $112 million by 2016.

“It’s going to make a difference,” Rasch said.

West Salem resident Bob Severson, 59, said he supported the referendum because the changes will help people learn valuable workplace skills.

“I went there myself and I think that’s going to be the crux of getting the right training,” Severson said.

Western will borrow the money for the building projects, adding to existing debt of about $58 million.

Wisconsin technical colleges can’t use referendum dollars for operating costs – unlike school districts — so they are less frequent. Western’s last referendum was more than 15 years ago, when 64 percent of voters agreed to pay for a $3 million chunk of the city’s Health Science Center.

A wave of support at the polls Tuesday also appears to have pushed through La Crosse School District’s $15.7 million referendum for a new North Side elementary school.

Voters in the La Crosse School District approved a building referendum. Final numbers show 21,494 yes votes to 10,424 no votes.

A new school will house teachers and students currently split between two aging facilities. Officials plan to build the new facility at 1611 Kane St., where the old Franklin Elementary School building stands.

“It’s going to mean a lot for our community, not just for the North Side,” Superintendent Randy Nelson said.

Taxpayers in the district could pay about $25 more on a home worth $100,000.

The prospect of higher taxes inspired 75-year-old La Crosse resident and retiree Kay Weldy to vote against the referendum.

“The taxes are too high as they are,” she said.

Franklin combined with Roosevelt about three years ago, and both run under the same administration, with grade levels divided between the two buildings.

Roosevelt, built in 1923, is the oldest school building in the district. Builders used clay tiles in the 1955 construction of Franklin, which has led to continual structural problems for the school.

Both buildings were slated for about $6 million of work, including about $2 million already bonded for heating and ventilation upgrades. Officials agreed to opt out of the bonded funds if voters passed today’s referendum.

The new building saves the district about $200,000 in operating costs each year.

Shelby resident David Loeffler, 63, said he voted “yes” on the referendum because he to ensure a quality education for future generations.

“I have a grandson and I want to make sure he gets everything he can,” Loeffler said.

Similar referendums in 2004 and 2008 failed to pass muster with voters, but this is a different time — when the community appears be favoring neighborhood revitalization in the wake of recent economic struggles, Nelson said.

“Things have changed,” he said.

From lacrossetribune.com: “Western Technical College to ask area voters for $79.8 million” — Western Technical College officials will ask voters to approve a $79.8 million referendum in November to help pay for future building projects.

College officials approved a measure Monday that will put the referendum on the general election ballot for voters in 11 western Wisconsin counties to consider. The extra money would be a key part of the college’s strategic plan to add students, become more efficient and improve the pathway between classroom and workplace, Western President Lee Rasch said.

“How do we serve more people when we don’t have operating dollars?” Rasch said. “This is our overall strategy.”

The referendum would allow Western to issue bonds for more funding, even as the college loses money to tightened state budgets. Western eliminated jobs and programs last year to compensate for about $2.3 million in state budget  cuts.

“The reality is the funding isn’t falling there,” Rasch said.

Here’s how the referendum would work:

If passed on the Nov. 6 ballot, property owners would see a tax increase — $3.25 monthly for a $100,000 home, or $39 a year.

Money from bonds would help foot the bill for six building projects, including an addition and remodeling of the technology center and renovations of the Coleman and Kumm centers. A new parking ramp also would be funded by the referendum, along with a greenhouse and an expanded space for the college’s diesel training program.

Construction would start in June 2013, officials say.

Adding two floors to Western’s technology building would make the structure a flagship for the college, Rasch said. The project’s $32.6 million price tag would pay for an energy-efficient facility with learning spaces that mimic the workplace. The new building would be large enough to house technology classes under one roof.

The $26.5 million remodeling of Coleman would give the outdated building newer classrooms for general instruction, Rasch said. Coleman was built in 1923 and last remodeled in 1971. The new Coleman would be safer and more energy-efficient, officials say.

While the ground level of Kumm has an updated kitchen and dining area, the upper floors would be renovated with $10.1 million for health and science classes.

“The buildings are old and the ways of education are changing,” Sally Lister, a Western board member who voted in favor of the referendum. “We’ll be able to make better use of the space that we have.”

Western’s strategic plan calls for more than new buildings. By 2020, officials hope to add 1,000 students, cut energy costs with efficiency projects and make programs more flexible to better meet the skill-training needs of students and employers.

The referendum would allow Western to grow in the face of budget cuts, officials say.

“This is the only way we can upgrade buildings on campus,” Lister said.

Rasch said the referendum could have a significant impact on the local economy as Western improves its ability to train a contemporary workforce.

“We’re not suggesting to wait for someone else to solve this,” he said. “We can do this on our own.”

Western officials will still follow the strategic plan if voters nix the referendum, but it will be hard to do with no projected increases in state funding, Rasch said.

“Then we just have a much steeper hill to climb,” Rasch said. “We realize that what we’re really asking for is the voter support on the facilities, but we’re asking them to consider it in light of the total plan.”

From thenorthwestern.com: “FVTC moving ahead with $66.5 million project” — GRAND CHUTE — Fox Valley Technical College officials switched gears Wednesday, thrilled to be moving ahead with plans to expand and upgrade facilities over the next two years after a strong voter endorsement on Tuesday.

“It’s nice validation of the work that gets done here,” Chris Matheny, vice president, instructional services, said Wednesday following a successful $66.5 million building referendum.

Unofficial vote results from nine northeastern Wisconsin counties showed that the seven projects included in the plans sailed to approval with 65.3 percent of nearly 90,000 votes cast.

While thanking supporters at a gathering in downtown Appleton on Tuesday night, FVTC President Susan May noted that the $25.5 million 1998 referendum, which occurred during a stronger economy, was approved on a 60-40 margin.

The vote was not finalized until the Board of Canvassers met at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Now officials can borrow money to construct the facilities, including a nearly $35 million public safety training center — a facility unique to the Midwest that should enhance FVTC’s reputation as a national leader in training for law enforcement and other public safety professionals.

“I’m just excited to get started,” said Patricia Robinson, executive dean of FVTC’s public safety division. “I’ve been working toward this public safety center for a long time and it’s just been so gratifying to see that the people of the region have recognized the need and stepped forward and said, ‘Let’s go do it.'”

Outagamie County Regional Airport will lease about 75 acres of land along County BB on the airport’s south end for the public safety training facility, and airport director Marty Lenss said there will be a direct benefit for manufacturers Pierce Manufacturing and Oshkosh Truck Corp. “They bring in 10,000 to 12,000 firefighters a year through our airport so there’s real positives for our community,” Lenss said. The airport also will benefit through lease revenues.Projects at the main campus at 1825 N. Bluemound Drive include: an $11.9 million health simulation and technology center, $7.4 million student success center, $6.2 million J. J. Keller Transportation Center expansion and $3.5 million agriculture center expansion.

The package includes funding to purchase land next to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh for $1 million and another $1.4 million to buy the leased Chilton Regional Center. That facility also will undergo a $300,000 expansion, adding a 2,000-square-foot classroom/lab.

Matheny said he anticipates the majority of the borrowing will take place in June to take advantage of low interest rates. Eppstein Uhen Architects of Milwaukee will lead the design process on all projects and be assisted on the public safety facility by McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie Inc., an architectural-planning firm specializing in public safety facilities that has an office in Wheaton, Ill.

Miron Construction Co., Inc., Neenah, was selected to serve as a construction manager for all projects.

Matheny said the stand-alone public safety training center and the health simulation and agricultural program expansions will be the first to proceed, depending on final design, state approval of building plans and possible Department of Natural Resources approval.

Under the referendum resolution, FVTC has two years in which to use the authorized funding, so work will proceed quickly. The health simulation and technology center and agriculture center expansions should be finished by fall of 2013.

Expansion of the transportation center is expected to be finished by early 2014, while the student success center addition and the public safety training center should be ready for use by the fall of 2014.

Surveys commissioned by FVTC had revealed high levels of support and confidence for the education and training provided by FVTC, but officials were nervous nonetheless about voter reaction to a large-scale request in trying economic times.

An independent economic impact study also showed that the public safety training center would provide substantial spinoff benefits for the local economy, including job creation, new spending and additional tax revenues.

The cause gained considerable traction in March when the Fox Valley Area Labor Council AFL-CIO joined the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, representing more than 1,400 businesses, in endorsing the referendum.

Now, officials hope to secure borrowing at low interest rates to provide taxpayers with the best value possible. Borrowing $66.5 million over 15 years at conservative interest rates (4.75 to 5.25 percent) were projected to cost $1 a month in additional taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home, according to Robert W. Baird & Co., FVTC’s financial advisor. But officials consider that a worst-case scenario as FVTC has an excellent credit rating and last summer received a 1.3 percent interest rate for short-term capital equipment borrowing.

“We know that things aren’t the greatest for everyone at this time but we know things are getting better,” May said Tuesday night. “We see many signs of a recovery. We want to get ahead of this enough to make a difference when that really takes hold in this region.”

From postcrescent.com: “Returns show strong support for $66M FVTC referendum” — APPLETON — A $66.5 million referendum to expand and upgrade Fox Valley Technical College was headed toward approval late Tuesday.

Nearly three hours after polls closed Tuesday, FVTC President Susan May claimed the referendum a resounding success with 42,618 votes — about 68 percent — in favor and 20,156 against in unofficial partial results across nine northeastern Wisconsin counties.

“We’re just delighted,” May said to a gathering of supporters at Michiels restaurant in downtown Appleton. “We are so grateful for the support across this region. To do this right now, in these times, I think is so phenomenal. This will add to the economic growth and development of this region — there’s no question about that.”

Bill Fitzpatrick, FVTC board president and New London school superintendent, said the projects were more than adding buildings.

“It’s about building skills,” he said. “It’s about building a future for ourselves and our kids. It’s about building community.”

Officials said FVTC, the state’s busiest technical school that served more than 53,000 people in 2011, needed the comprehensive facilities improvements to address unprecedented enrollment growth and employer demand for trained, skilled workers. With a worst-case scenario tax impact of about $1 per month for the owner of a $100,000 home, officials presented it as a good investment for taxpayers.

“The great news is tomorrow we put people back to work,” said Steve Tyink, FVTC Foundation board president and vice president of business innovation for Miron Construction Co., Inc., which will be the construction manager on the projects.

About 20,000 area employees were involved in workplace training through FVTC last year, while many of the school’s programs had waiting lists due to classroom space constraints. The last major building referendum took place in 1998.

Officials said the added capacity would annually allow for another 700 degree-seeking students (about 15,000 currently) and workforce training/continuing education for about 3,500 more (about 33,000 currently).

The centerpiece project, a $34.8 million stand-alone public safety training center, will be built on leased land on the south end of the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville.

“First and foremost, it’s a great investment for the community,” said Marty Lenss, director of the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville where the largest project will take place. “Now the work really begins. We’ve got to finalize lease details and then finalize our process with the FAA. We’ll be finishing those tasks up and hopefully turning dirt here real soon.

“It helps stabilize the airport environment and continue to allow the airport to be a self-sufficient enterprise within the county budget.”

The next four largest projects are at the main campus at 1825 N. Bluemound Drive: an $11.9 million health simulation and technology center, $7.4 million student success center, $6.2 million J. J. Keller Transportation Center expansion and $3.5 million agriculture center expansion.

Also proposed are $1 million to purchase land next to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh, $1.4 million to buy the leased Chilton Regional Center and $300,000 to add a 2,000-square-foot classroom/lab to the existing 19,760-square-foot facility.

If the referendum does pass, officials said design work would begin immediately on all projects. By fall of 2013, officials estimate that the health simulation and technology center and the agriculture center expansion would be completed.

Expansion of the transportation center is expected to be finished by early 2014 while the student success center addition and the public safety training center should be ready for use by the fall of 2014.

The key reasons cited to support the expansion and remodeling projects were: increased demands from regional employers for skilled workers through technical education and training; unprecedented 30 percent enrollment growth over the past three years; an analysis of industry growth projections; historic low borrowing costs; and likely competitive construction bidding.

An independent economic impact study also showed that the public safety training center would provide substantial spinoff benefits for the local economy, including job creation, new spending and additional tax revenues.

The shortage of skilled workers reported by employers encouraged FVTC officials that pushing forward would be a bold step that would also help the regional economy.

The comprehensive building plan stemmed from a process that began in 2006 with research and analysis of high-demand program areas. FVTC administrators and the Board of Trustees advanced the project last October despite a sluggish economy.

FVTC’s educational reach starts with the fact that 23 percent of area high school graduates enroll directly from high school, a number that grows to 43 percent within two years. The school also boasts a roughly 90 percent employment rate within six months of graduation.

Surveys commissioned by FVTC revealed high levels of support and confidence for the education and training provided by FVTC.

The $66.525 million borrowing over 15 years at conservative interest rates (4.75 to 5.25 percent) would cost $1 a month in additional taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home, according to Robert W. Baird & Co., FVTC’s financial advisor. FVTC has an excellent credit rating and last summer received a 1.3 percent interest rate for short-term capital equipment borrowing.

From postcrescent.com: “Fox Valley Technical College wants to expand to help growing workforce” — GRAND CHUTE — Fox Valley Technical College, the state’s busiest technical school, intends to get even busier over the next few years.

On April 3, voters in nine northeastern Wisconsin counties will vote on a $66.5 million building referendum that would address unprecedented enrollment growth and employer demand for trained, skilled workers at the school. The referendum comes amid a sluggish economy, but supporters stress the funds will play a critical role in rebuilding the economy by strengthening the workforce.

In 2011, FVTC served more than 53,000 people — including 20,000 local employees involved in workplace training — in crowded facilities. Some programs have been on waiting lists due to classroom space constraints.

“There’s not an aspect of any one of the five key programs they’re looking to expand that doesn’t touch your lives daily,” said Mike Weller, president of ITW Welding North America and Miller Electric Mfg., part of a Friends of FVTC advocacy group promoting its TechWorks campaign. “Agriculture, transportation, health, police, fire — all of those kind of things make a difference in our lives on a daily basis and contribute to the quality of life that we have in the area.”

FVTC’s first major building referendum in 14 years includes seven projects. The centerpiece is a $34.8 million public safety training center to be constructed on leased land on the south end of the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville.

The next four largest projects are at the main campus: an $11.9 million health simulation and technology center, a $7.4 million student success center, a $6.2 million J. J. Keller Transportation Center expansion and a $3.5 million agriculture center expansion. Also proposed are $1 million to purchase land next to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh, $1.4 million to buy the leased Chilton Regional Center and $300,000 to add a 2,000-square-foot classroom/lab to the existing 19,760-square-foot facility.

The main building on what is called the Appleton campus has 574,219 square feet. Other buildings at 1825 N. Bluemound Drive include the 80,992-square-foot J. J. Keller center and the 29,194-square-foot agricultural center.

Officials say the added capacity would annually allow for another 700 degree-seeking students — about 15,000 currently — and workforce training and continuing education for about 3,500 more students —about 33,000 currently.

Since the Board of Trustees unveiled its facilities development plans last October, FVTC President Susan May and other officials have referred to the projects as an investment and two key business and labor organizations tend to agree. The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, representing more than 1,400 businesses, and the Fox Valley Area Labor Council AFL-CIO have endorsed the referendum.

May said the shortage of skilled workers reported by employers suggests “now is the time as this economy begins to recover that we take this bold step to improve the regional economy as well.”

If approved by voters, design work would begin immediately on all projects. By fall of 2013, officials estimate the health simulation and technology center and the agriculture center expansion would be completed.

Expansion of the transportation center is expected to be finished by early 2014, while the student success center addition and the public safety training center should be ready for use by the fall of 2014.

Concerns over taxation

Robert W. Baird & Co., FVTC’s financial adviser, estimates the $66.5 million borrowing over 15 years at conservative interest rates (4.75 percent to 5.25 percent) would cost $1 a month in additional taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home. May noted that FVTC has an excellent credit rating and received a 1.3 percent interest rate for short-term capital equipment borrowing last summer.

“We just know that if we can get at this now, those interest rates are going to be substantially less than that,” she said. That would make the $1 per month cost “a worst-case scenario for taxpayers,” May said. “We don’t really have any long-term debt out there.”

Increasing property taxes is a concern for Grand Chute resident John Devos, who attended a public hearing in December.

“All I see is the money (levied by FVTC) on my tax bill and I wondered about it,” he said. “I can see expanding the nursing — we’re all getting older.”

Devos, who graduated from FVTC years ago with a degree in electro-mechanical technology, said, “I can see everything but that (public safety training center). I think the (current) facilities are adequate.”

He also was concerned about the relationship between the county-owned airport and FVTC.

“It just seems like one government entity supporting another government entity with my tax money, which concerns me about that one,” Devos said.

Staffing decisions are based on enrollment demand and other revenue sources such as tuition, grants and contracted services, May said.

The new facilities would require operating expenses of about $1.5 million. But, she said, the closure of the Neenah fire-training center, the elimination of lease payments in Chilton and other expenditure reductions or new revenues would provide an offset of about $1 million. The net $500,000 operating costs will be handled within the annual operating budget with the goal being “no additional tax impact,” she said.

Greenville resident Jon Julius, who lives near the airport, is opposed to using the airport land along County BB because it’s not an aviation use. He’s also worried about stormwater runoff from the site.

Unprecedented growth

Last October, FVTC’s administration and nine-member Board of Trustees chose to unveil details of its facilities planning process that began in 2006 with research and analysis of high-demand program areas.

The key rationale for advancing the expansion and remodeling projects were: increased demands from regional employers for skilled workers through technical education and training; unprecedented 30 percent enrollment growth over the past three years; an analysis of industry growth projections; historic low borrowing costs; and likely competitive construction bidding.

Subsequent surveys revealed high levels of support and confidence for the education and training provided by FVTC. An independent economic impact study also showed that the public safety training center would provide substantial spinoff benefits for the local economy, including job creation, new spending and additional tax revenues.

FVTC’s educational reach starts with the fact that 23 percent of local high school graduates enroll directly from high school, a number that grows to 43 percent within two years. The school also boasts a roughly 90 percent employment rate within six months of graduation.

Centerpiece projects

If the off-site public safety training center becomes reality, it would provide only limited space relief at the main campus as the forensic/crime scene classroom/lab would be relocated while the basement shooting range would be used for storage.

“We are bursting at the seams at this campus,” said Dr. Patricia Robinson, executive dean of FVTC’s public safety division. “Our general studies area is just cramped.”

The proposed off-site project would provide an integrated training platform for fire, emergency medical services and police training with 91,600 square feet of tactical labs/classrooms, indoor and outdoor rifle and pistol ranges, emergency vehicle driving range, multipurpose simulated village, forensic lab and crime scene rooms, defensive tactics training rooms, live-fire burn building, ladder tower/search-and-rescue facility, hazardous materials, confined space and high-angle rescue training and 4,800 square feet of vehicle maintenance.

The largest project at the main campus involves the 21,010-square-foot health simulation and technology center.

Sara Bell, manager of the Learning Center for Collaborative Care at Theda Care, which operates five hospitals and 27 clinics in the Fox Valley, said providing nursing or health care students the opportunity to practice simulated situations or procedures in a virtual hospital is valuable with follow-up critiques and dialogue with instructors.

“It gives them the opportunity to gain that confidence and expertise outside of the eyes of the patients and the families,” she said.

Health care facilities are constantly trying to maintain professional nursing staff levels and, Bell said, positions often come open in January or May as registered nurses graduate and leave licensed practical nurse or certified nursing assistant positions.

Considering demographics and issues with obesity and lifestyle choices, Bell said the need for hospital services continues to grow “whether it be for intervention for cardiac problems or joint replacements, things like that. We’re not getting less patients.”

Skilled worker demand

Weller said Miller Electric has long seen the value of the technical training and has enjoyed a 15-year partnership with FVTC. The school has provided existing employees an opportunity to “gain the skills needed for us to be competitive,” while the business, which has many FVTC graduates along with interns or co-op students, has donated and loaned FVTC close to a $1 million worth of fabrication and welding equipment to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh.

“So we’re helping each other grow and we’re helping the community and the economic impact of the area,” Weller said.

He is impressed by FVTC’s 90 percent graduate placement rate.

“There’s not another institution that can talk about those kinds of numbers. So the employer demand is high,” Weller said.

ITW/Miller added 105 employees last year and anticipates more hiring in the future.

“This is not a Miller Electric thing,” Weller said. “Part of this expansion is enabling these students in these various programs to get great hands-on experience.

“We’re hoping to help people that are displaced, we’re trying to help people that are nontraditional careers (and) diverse students.”

Transportation expansion

From Steve Farwell’s perspective, the proposed 39,315-square-foot transportation center expansion isn’t enough to fill the current need for diesel and automotive technicians or certified truck drivers.

As general manager of Quality Truck Care Center, Farwell runs the Appleton and Green Bay locations that offer maintenance and repairs on large diesel vehicles.

“The transportation industry is the core of all businesses — anything related to deliveries and pickups, anything that’s moving merchandise,” Farwell said.

He expects to add about five new employees at Quality Truck Care Centers (others in Oshkosh and Fond du Lac) yet this year.

“There’s way more demand than there (are) students and new employees to fill those,” Farwell said.

Once hired, the technicians face frequent training and continuing education to learn certifications for dealerships on specific engines and chassis.

“So we need somebody with good basic foundation, technology and ability to be taught,” Farwell said.

“Students coming out of that program are very well prepared to be technicians in our industry. Our problem is there’s not enough.”

Student center

The new Student Success Center would encompass the existing 13,650-square-foot library and 45,727 square feet in the general studies area and new construction of about 23,700 square feet.

“We’ve been seeing just tremendous growth in our general education courses and adult basic education enrollment in the last few years,” May said.

“The education of our workforce is critically important for us to be successful,” said Wayne LaMont, human resources business partner, McCain Foods, which has 540 employees at its Appleton appetizer plant and 60 more at an adjacent research-development facility.

McCain has used FVTC to allow maintenance employees to improve their skills through apprenticeships and other classes such as electrical or manufacturing technology. Some hourly and salaried employees aspiring to be supervisors have taken various Lean courses and other classes. They have also hired FVTC to come on-site to teach English as a Second Language to some employees.

“We want to make sure as we move into the future that we have the educated workers that we need to be successful,” LaMont said. “We’re asking all of our employees to be problem-solvers, to be engaged in the business.

“We have to have an educated workforce or we’re going to have a harder time competing. Without having a well-educated workforce, it makes it harder for us to stay on that leading edge of innovation and problem solving.”

From postcrescent.com: “Business, labor back $66.5 million Fox Valley Technical College referendum” — Business and labor organizations don’t always agree, but both groups have set aside their differences to rally behind one cause — passage of Fox Valley Technical College’s $66.5 million referendum.

The two groups say the April 3 referendum, which would cover assorted campus upgrades and expansion at the college’s main Grand Chute campus as well as its facilities in Oshkosh and Chilton if approved, would yield broad community benefits.

On Monday, the Fox Valley Area Labor Council AFL-CIO said it endorsed the referendum during its February meeting. This followed an endorsement in mid-February by the board of directors at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which represents more than 1,400 businesses.

“I think the message to the community here is when you get two sides with divergent opinions the past few years (supporting) a project like this, it shows we both believe it to be in the best interests of the entire Fox Valley community,” said Mark Westphal, president of the labor council, which is affiliated with about 35 regional unions and represents about 9,000 AFL-CIO members.

He said enhancing FVTC’s offerings will improve the community and in this instance, political views and stance on issues should be set aside.

“FVTC services a broad cross-section of the community,” Westphal said. “It will not only benefit the business community, but middle-class workers and young students trying to better themselves.”

Mike Weller, who serves as treasurer of Friends of FVTC, a group campaigning for passage of the referendum, said having the business community and labor rally behind the referendum shows both recognize the college’s importance to the region.

“In terms of meeting the needs of the community, it meets everyone’s needs,” Weller said. “The tech offers a place where people can improve their skills and businesses need those people to help the area grow.”

FVTC’s $66.5 million proposal would cover building improvements to deal with increasing enrollments, crowded facilities and the growing need for a skilled and trained workforce.

It includes seven projects with most of the proceeds, if approved, going toward a $32.5 million public safety training center that would be built on 74 acres of leased land on the south end of Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville.

Other projects for the Grand Chute campus include an $11.9 million health simulation and technology center, $7.4 million student success center, $6.2 million transportation center expansion and $3.5 million agriculture center expansion.

The referendum package also includes borrowing $1 million to purchase land next to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh for future expansion, $1.4 million to buy the Chilton Regional Center, which the college now leases, and $300,000 to add a classroom/lab to its Chilton facility.

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Fox Valley Technical College board approves $66.5M referendum” — GRAND CHUTE — Voters in nine counties will be asked April 3 to approve a $66.525 million capital facilities referendum for Fox Valley Technical College, the state’s busiest technical school.

The FVTC Board of Trustees has approved two resolutions authorizing the referendum and borrowing of up to $66.525 million for seven proposed capital facilities projects.

The largest of the projects is a $32.5 million public safety training center proposed for construction on 75 acres of leased land on the south end of the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville.

“We are sensitive to the current economic situation and its impact on the many families in this region,” said FVTC board Chairman Bill Fitzpatrick. “But we also know that this college plays a critical role in rebuilding the local economy by giving workers the skills they need for sustainable employment.”

Proposed projects at the Grand Chute campus include an $11.9 million health simulation and technology center, $7.4 million student success center, $6.2 million transportation center expansion, and $3.5 million agriculture center expansion. Also proposed are $1 million to purchase land next to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh, $1.4 million to buy the leased Chilton Regional Center and $300,000 to add a classroom/lab to the Chilton facility.

Growing demands from area employers for skilled workers, an unprecedented 30 percent enrollment growth the past three years, limited facilities, historic low borrowing costs and probable competitive construction bidding were key factors cited by officials to support pursuit of a comprehensive capital facilities plan.

Last year, FVTC served 53,000 individuals. “That’s more people than any other technical college in the state, more than Milwaukee, more than Madison,” Fitzpatrick said.

If voters approve the referendum, FVTC will be authorized to borrow the necessary funds over two years. The property tax impact on the owner of a $100,000 home is estimated not to exceed $12.50 annually with the $66.5 million borrowed over 15 years using conservative interest rate projections.

The referendum, FVTC’s first in 14 years, will require approval of voters in all or parts of nine counties, including Brown, Calumet, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Portage, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago.

From postcrescent.com: “FVTC board authorizes $66.5 million referendum” — GRAND CHUTE – Voters in nine counties will be asked on April 3 to consider a $66.525 million capital facilities referendum for Fox Valley Technical College, the state’s busiest technical school.

The FVTC Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve an initial borrowing resolution not to exceed $66.525 million and a resolution to pursue a referendum on seven capital facilities projects.

The centerpiece and largest of the seven projects is the $32.5 million public safety training center proposed for construction on 75 acres of leased land on the south end of the Outagamie County Regional Airport.

The action means that If voters approve the referendum, FVTC would be authorized to borrow the necessary funds over two years to complete the facilities projects.

“The board clearly understands the college’s attentiveness to the needs of our region’s workforce,” said FVTC board chairman Bill Fitzpatrick.

FVTC administrators and the board have done extensive studies and planned for the capital facilities projects over the past four years.

FVTC President Susan May said a community perception survey illustrated the important role that the technical college plays in training skilled professionals to fit immediate job openings and long-term careers.

“Our community and our workforce need to grow in alignment with the new skill requirements of this economy, and it certainly shaping up as a skills-based economy,” May said.

“We look forward to helping this community and this region grow the economy, career opportunities, and overall quality of life,” May said. “Putting facilities like this in play can make that kind of difference.”

From postcrescent.com: “Fox Valley Technical College board aims for project referendum in April” — GRAND CHUTE — Plans are advancing for an April 3 referendum that would seek public approval for up to seven proposed Fox Valley Technical College capital projects totaling $65 million to $85 million.

Buoyed by favorable survey data and a “powerful” economic impact report concerning the $32.5 million public safety training center proposal, the FVTC Board of Trustees unanimously approved an initial intent to borrow resolution Tuesday night.

Citing growing demands from area employers for skilled workers and an unprecedented 30 percent enrollment growth the past three years, trustees opted to continue analysis of capital facilities plans the next two months before deciding on the overall scope of the facilities expansion.

The resolution includes two public hearings — scheduled for Dec. 13 in Grand Chute and Dec. 14 in Oshkosh — to gather feedback for the ballot question to be determined in January.

“Today, more than ever, organizations are relying on a generation of workers who possess advanced skills that match the needs of a new economy,” said Bill Fitzpatrick, FVTC board chairman.

 

From postcrescent.com: “Fox Valley Technical College board explores $65 million expansion plan” — GRAND CHUTE — Plans are under way to expand Fox Valley Technical College’s main campus and one off-campus site with five major projects totaling $65 million to $85 million, officials said.

FVTC’s Board of Trustees is considering a facilities development plan that identifies five top-priority projects, along with the purchase of land next to the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh and the purchase/expansion of a leased facility in Chilton.

♦ FVTC facts and figures

The centerpiece of the proposal is a $32 million public safety training center that would be located at the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville.

The facility would provide state-of-the-art classroom and hands-on training opportunities for students along with police, firefighters and emergency medical services professionals from throughout the U.S.

With a sensitivity toward the current economic conditions, FVTC officials have embarked on a deliberate process and are seeking to gauge public support for the projects — including a possible spring 2012 referendum to finance some or all of them — through “school perceptions” surveys distributed this week to community leaders throughout the Fox Cities, along with a random telephone survey of the public.

 

From wiscnews.com: “Reedsburg among MATC campuses enjoying upgrades” — MADISON – Construction projects at Madison Area Technical College’s main campus are getting most of the attention, but satellite campuses will enjoy upgrades, too.

Plans for some $7.3 million in renovations and upgrades at MATC’s regional campuses in Fort Atkinson, Watertown, Reedsburg and Portage are in various stages.

When voters backed a referendum in the fall of 1974 giving Madison Area Technical College the go-ahead to borrow $30 million to expand the school, it took a dozen years for the new Truax campus to open.

This time around, the process is moving along at a much quicker pace.

Less than a year after area voters backed a referendum giving the college the green light to borrow up to $133.8 million to fund new construction projects in Madison and upgrades to the school’s campuses throughout the region, MATC is hosting a ground-breaking ceremony today at 4:30 p.m. The event will take place just outside the Truax campus’ Redsten Gym entrance.

“We are further along in the processes than we reasonably expected to be,” says Roger Price, Madison College’s senior vice president for administration. “I attribute it to the fact we had in place, prior to going to referendum, a solid facilities master plan. And we have in place a very strong team that has allowed us, once the referendum gave us the funding, to quickly move forward.”

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