With the overwhelming passage of a $275 million bond issue Tuesday, Cuesta College officials plan to break ground on two new classroom/administration buildings by next fall — one each in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo.
And in the spring they’ll start making critical repairs, such as addressing leaky roofs and broken air conditioning and heating units at both campuses.
Three additional phases of work will be undertaken in four-year increments. The next phase, set for 2018, will include a new Campus Center in San Luis Obispo and an Early Childhood Education Center in Paso Robles.
The bond will also be used in later years to build a Job and Training Facility in Paso Robles and pay off about $21 million in debt from past construction and campus upgrades.
The long list of repairs and upgrades was given the green light by 62 percent of voters countywide.
“Now we feel that we can do what needs to be done,” said Terry Reece, director of facility services, planning and capital projects who has worked at Cuesta for 19 years. “For the longest time there was just no way.”
Pete Sysak of Arroyo Grande, who didn’t support the bond because it didn’t include improvements to the South County, received enough votes to oust incumbent Charlotte Alexander from the college’s Board of Trustees. But he said Wednesday he’ll make sure the public gets what was promised.
Sysak retired as the college’s director of public safety in 2007. He’ll take office on Dec. 10.
The two new buildings will replace modular classrooms that no longer meet state safety guidelines and must be vacated by September 2015. The concept for those buildings is complete, but final design and approval from the Division of the State Architect will take up to six months.
Students will attend classes in temporary buildings, which are being leased for the duration of the college’s renovations, while the new instructional buildings are erected.
“It’s going to be like camping for a little while, but it is for the best of the district,” Reece said.
The new classrooms, once complete, will accommodate larger class sizes of up to 45 students — something Reece said has been in high demand.
A list of the most critical repairs at both campuses will be complete by the end of the month.
A campus technology team will make sure that as campus buildings are renovated, future technology needs are incorporated, Reece said.