Tuesday, April 07, 2009

LCC eager to spend $8 million from stimulus package--
[but have they learned how to manage their budget?]

Register guard--

At Lane Community College, facilities director Willis and his staff have been working in overdrive mode getting ready to set loose $8 million worth of infrastructure and deferred maintenance work.

However, the state wants the stimulus project started by the end of the month,The college has engineering and architectural firms busily preparing drawings and packages on 15 different projects, and expects to open bidding this week. The stimulus money is expected to put nearly 250 people to work on projects that will take a little bit more than one year to complete.
“We know a lot of people in the local community are hurting and they need a job, and we want to be part of the solution,” Willis said. “It’s pretty exciting to know you’re doing something so positive for the local community.”

Willis said that 85% of the work will be contracted out and the remainder will be done by LCC workers. This translates to about 200 private-sector jobs and maybe 40 staff jobs. Those hired by the College are likely to be kept on thanks to the $83 million bond measure that voters approved in November.
“You can’t imagine the smiles of these folks when they get these kinds of opportunities in the current economic climate,” he said. “We’re so excited that we’re able to really make a positive difference in helping people through this difficult time.”

Listed on some of the projects are changing out old lighting with LED lights, installing a new fire system, a new alarm system that will include a voice messaging system that can alert people to the different types of emergencies, adding a solar thermal system to at least one building to pre-heat water.

But with all that good news, LCC President Mary Spilde said the college may still have to cut between 4 million and $8 million from next year's budget and possibly more if the state's economy worsens.
.”We’re certainly not complaining about that,” Spilde said of the construction funding. “But it is ironic that while we’re doing that we have this huge struggle on the operating side of the budget.”

long-time readers to this blog know exactly how I feel about LCC based on my three year, $22,000 experience with them. When asked which college I would recommend going to for an education in the computer and information industry, without hesitation my responses is ITT.

But without regurgitating my experiences, here's a suggestion for LCC if they would really like to "help stimulate the economy in Lane County."

Are you paying attention Mary Spilde?

ITT in Portland has a program that allows graduates to take refresher courses in their same field at no cost to the student. If LCC would offer a similar program, either at no cost or low-cost, then students who graduated from the college and would like to improve their skills in the area of their degree, [especially in the technology field where you have to stay current with technology] would greatly increase the chances of those graduates getting work.

and in my case... would feel like I made a good investment.


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