IVCCD asks voters to reconsider $32 million bond issue
Last spring after interviewing for the Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD) Chancellor role, my husband and I drove back to Solon impressed with the people and communities we had visited. The drive included a conversation about the April bond referendum and the extensive facility study that served as the foundation for the ask to voters. But the April vote failed to reach the 60% mark required to pass the bond issue, falling short by just 60 votes.
Fast forward to this fall … the foundational facilities study remains relevant and the facility needs remain critical. Because the bond referendum will be on the Nov. 5 ballot, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing both the needs and the study with local voters at service clubs, senior living facilities, small coffee groups and public forums. I have also been able to share Iowa Valley points of pride such as:
• #1 Transfer Rate among all the Iowa Community Colleges: Our students succeed in the classroom and transfer on to continue their studies.
• IVCCD (MCC and ECC) Practical Nursing Program is ranked #2 in the state among all Iowa two- and four-year colleges and universities: Our students are well prepared for their licensure exam and pass at high rates prior to becoming high quality health care providers in our local communities.
• The Precision Agriculture program is ranked #3 in the nation: In addition to providing nationally ranked instruction to Ellsworth students in Iowa Falls, our ag faculty work with high school faculty in Marshall, Poweshiek, Tama and Hardin to provide college credit classes to high school students.
How will the money be spent
• Learning Spaces: Renovate STEM classrooms and labs, improve MCC library and Student Success Center, and remodel the Iowa Valley Conference Center and meeting/workforce training space.
• Safety and Security: Upgrade security systems (cameras, locking systems, fire safety) and improve lighting at all campuses.
• Technologies: Upgrade technical infrastructures and improve internet connectivity across the service area.
• Infrastructures: Upgrade aging HVAC and electrical systems, improve accessibility, and refresh public spaces.
• Living spaces: Update ECC student housing built in 1964 and 1970 and add capacity.
What would the bond issue cost if it is approved
For a homeowner, the bond issue will cost $3.32 per a month ($39.84 per year) for a home with an assessed valuation of $100,000. At its highest point, the $32 million bond issue will cost taypayers (spread over our four primaries counties and portions of six additional counties) less than they were paying back in 2017.
Additional information is online at www.iavalley.edu.
Dr. Kristie Fisher is Chancellor of Iowa Valley Community College District, which operates Ellsworth Community College, Marshalltown Community College, Iowa Valley Continuing Education, and Iowa Valley Grinnell.