CCCC trustees make another appeal for bond referendum

Feb. 11, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

For nearly a year, the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees has been asking the Lee County Board of Commissioners to put a multi-million dollar bond referendum for capital improvements before the general public. On Monday, they asked again.

The CCCC Board of Trustees' Finance Committee and the county commissioners met to discuss the college's five priority capital projects — which include repairs to Sanford's main campus, renovations to the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center and the expansion of the Veterinary Medical Technology Program — at noon Monday at the civic center.  The trustees originally submitted their resolution to the commissioners requesting the bond referendums in April 2013.

"Our needs are great," said CCCC Finance Committee Chairman and Sanford Mayor Chet Mann. "With a little bit of background, the college had graciously taken a backseat to the other needs of the county. In particular, eight to 12 years ago, we agreed to let other priorities take place, including the new high school. Now we are at a massive point. We need to move on these items and we are at the feet of the commissioners — asking them to move these items forward." 

Lee County Commissioner Chairman Charlie Parks said his board would be unable to make a decision on the $23 million bond referendum items until commissioners begin budget workshops next week.

"We always have a good meeting with the board of trustees," Parks said after the gathering. "I think they understand our needs and our restrictions. We can't make any commitment until we meet with our financial advisers. We are going to have to take a look at our budget, and nothing can transpire until we approve the budget in June."

The county has worked to lower its debt payments and must be on solid financial footing before continuing any major capital projects, he said.

The people should be given the opportunity to voice their position on the projects, said CCCC Trustee Keith Clark, who added that if the county was unable to support the maintenance of the buildings, then that should be stated and officially entered into the public record.

The county is "being pushed to the limit" to maintain its current inventory of buildings, said Lee County Manager John Crumpton, and adding more would cause an additional strain.

The Lee County Commissioners are scheduled to meet at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Lee County Government Center for their budget kickoff work session.

The priority CCCC capital projects are:

  • The new construction of a 40,000-square-feet Health Science Building, which will meet the high "demand for health career graduates." Estimated cost is $9 million.
  • The expansion and renovation of the Veterinary Medical Technology Program. One of CCCC's more competitive programs, the center must be renovated to be continually accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. Estimated cost is $5 million.
  • Expansion and renovation of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center to address safety concerns and to "increase facility rental opportunities." Estimated cost is $4 million.
  • Renovation and repair of Sanford campus and Emergency Services Training Center, including relocating the bookstore, repairing the Joyner Hall roof, expanding the welding program and making various improvements to the Emergency Services Training Center. Estimated cost of the project is $4 million.
  • Renovation of a building, located at 130 S. Steele St., for the college's Small Business Incubator. Estimated cost is $1 million.