LBCC Board of Education votes unanimously to place bond request on ballot this May to address community need
Bond would build new Agricultural Center, improve child care, repair aging buildings
Albany, Ore. -- To address community needs, the Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) Board of Education is asking voters to consider a $16 million general obligation bond in the upcoming May election. The decision was made unanimously at the Board’s public meeting held the evening of February 16th. If passed, the bond would allow the college to support evolving employer needs by continuing to offer high-quality education to students now and in the future.
Major projects include:
Construction of a new Agricultural Center to offer expanded animal science and crop and soil production training
LBCC is committed to addressing the needs of the local agricultural community by providing future farmers and livestock managers of Oregon with the hands-on training in agriculture, crop and soil production, and animal science they require to be successful. If passed, the bond would provide the community with a new LBCC Agricultural Center that includes needed equipment and space to expand student enrollment, and expand program offerings to meet the needs of local employers. This would include the ability to offer a new Applied Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology, in partnership with the Oregon State University School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as other applied learning degrees that would address a current gap in agricultural education. In addition, the Center would allow the college to host events for community groups including 4H, FFA, and equine classes, and local competitions and events.
Currently the college is forced to turn students away from its successful Agriculture and Animal Science Programs due to limited space. There is also no central place to train students or room to adapt to the changing needs of area farmers, including lack of room to offer crop and soil production technology and training. Students must now use neighboring farms and outside facilities to gain hands-on experience.
Renovate and re-open an LBCC childcare center
The bond would allow LBCC to renovate the childcare center located at the main campus in Albany, helping to improve early learning opportunities for kids and getting parents back to work. This would not only provide much-needed childcare services for students and employees, but also allow the college to use the childcare center as a “lab” that provides hands-on learning spaces for early childhood education students—a role in high employment demand in our current economy.
Allow LBCC to make critical repairs to aging facilities
This bond measure would allow LBCC to make needed, large-scale repairs including increasing accessibility for people with disabilities, addressing safety hazards and deferred maintenance, and make upgrades to outdated boilers and HVAC systems. This would include updating and expanding the Learning and Career Center located at the LBCC Benton Center in Corvallis which provides space for tutoring, testing, and career counseling. It would also allow the center to serve more students without increasing staffing, as well as to provide updated meeting rooms used by community partners such as the Small Business Development Center and the Parenting Success Network. With these repairs in place, LBCC’s buildings would be able to function and educate future generations for decades to come.
If approved, the bond would cost taxpayers approximately 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed tax value and include built-in accountability steps such as independent auditing to ensure dollars are spent wisely and efficiently. The bond would also open a matching appropriation from the state of Oregon in the amount of eight million dollars in additional support for the Agricultural Center, providing a total of $24 million in support to the community through LBCC projects. In addition, the bond would also make the college eligible for future state and federal childcare grants.
“Passing this bond ensures state matching funds are spent right here in our community, creating employment opportunities and improving the livelihoods of Linn and Benton residents,” said Chair of the LBCC Board of Directors, and Sweet Home representative, Kristin Adams. “Students will receive the best instruction and latest equipment available in the field, resulting in good-paying jobs that are vital to our local industries, including veterinary technicians, crop production, farm management, horse breeding and livestock production. Just as we have done in manufacturing and healthcare, we are excited to continue the tradition of creating direct employment pathways that meet the needs of our employers.”
“LBCC is committed to meeting the unique needs of rural families in Oregon with the kind of instruction that will keep family farms and growing companies flourishing and contributing to our local economy,” said LBCC President, Dr. Lisa Avery. “We view this bond as an opportunity to take a critical step forward in investing in education that is open to all and provides real futures for generations to come.”
To check your registration status or for more information on how to register to vote, please visit www.oregonvotes.gov.