College district yearns for bond

A former World War II barracks and ammunition dump used by Skyline College as a maintenance facility since its founding is one of several local buildings that could be overhauled or replaced if voters approve a $10.5 billion state education bond scheduled for the November election.

If the bond passes, community colleges around the state would receive about $1.5 billion. The San Mateo County Community College District — which governs Skyline and Cañada colleges, as well as the College of San Mateo — hopes to tap $17 million of that to help pay for more than $27 million in new construction costs and upgrades.

The rest of the money would be taken out of the $468 million in Measure A bond funds approved by county voters in November 2005, officials said. College district trustees approved the projects June 28, as part of a five-year capital improvement plan.

“These projects are important because these facilities are used by the people that keep the schools operating behind the scenes,” said Jose Nuñez, executive director of facilities management and construction.

By using local matching funds, the district may be able to improve its chances of winning state monies if the bond is approved, officials said. “When we passed Measure A, it was with the intention that we were going to get matching funds from the state and turn the bond into an even bigger project,” Community College District trustee Richard Holober said.

To be built with the funds are two new maintenance facilities at Skyline and Cañada colleges, responsible for everything from carpentry and plumbing repairs to custodial work, Nuñez said. In addition, former library and learning center space at Cañada will be converted to classrooms to accommodate the district’s four-year curriculum, coordinated through UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State, Nuñez said.

Already under construction are a new library/learning center at Cañada, earth sciences building at College of San Mateo and a vocational health-training center at Skyline.

The maintenance facility at Skyline was deeded to the college district at its founding in 1969 by the U.S. Coast Guard, Christensen said. It was built prior to World War II and used as barracks and storage prior to the district taking it over, college district spokeswoman Barbara Christensen said.

The maintenance facility at Cañada, in the basement of the gymnasium, is to be converted into a fitness center, Christensen said.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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