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Measure H could bring $139 million to Shasta College

by Boone Ashworth

Toward the end of a lengthy list of candidates and propositions on the November ballot is a measure that could be vital for the future of Shasta College.

Measure H would provide a bond of $139 million to be used on improvements across the main campus and the extended Tehama and Trinity campuses. The money will go toward renovating existing facilities, as well as expanding infrastructure to build improved buildings and programs for firefighters, emergency medical personnel and veterans.

“Shasta College faculty and staff have worked diligently to serve our communities for many years,” said Shasta College president Dr. Joe Wyse. “The planning behind this bond provides for facility needs to continue to provide excellent educational experiences for our students for the next 30 plus years.”

Funding from Measure H would be used to replace the existing module buildings used by the fire academy with a new, improved training center.

Funding from Measure H would be used to replace the existing buildings used by the fire academy with a new, improved training center.

A primary focus of the measure would be the construction of a new Regional Public Safety Training Center. In comparison to the current facilities, many of which consist of aging modular buildings, the new center would allow enhanced outside-the-classroom training of new firefighters, law enforcement personnel and EMTs.

According to Wyse, Shasta College officials have been meeting with the main fire agencies within Shasta, Tehama and Trinity county to develop the new training grounds according to actual field requirements.

“The experts are helping us design the layout, and they’re very excited about this.” Wyse said. After all, he added, “Over 80% of firefighters and police and EMTs in the state are trained at California community colleges.”

Another major goal of Measure H is the construction of a new Veterans Support Center. Shasta College currently serves around 300 veterans who directly receive benefit services. According to Measure H proponents, the purpose of such a support center is to help veterans achieve their educational goals and successfully re-enter the civilian workforce.

Through two planned phases, new veterans centers will be integrated into both the Shasta College main campus and the Tehama campus as student enrollment there grows.

Funds from Measure H will also be allocated to the construction of a new Career Technical Education (CTE) facility and upgrades to existing STEM labs on campus. According to proponents, these resources will give students an expanded opportunity to become job-ready for key careers in the local community and beyond.

Students in one of Shasta College's life sciences lab.

Students in one of Shasta College’s life sciences lab.

Another focus of the measure would be to improve technology services throughout the areas that Shasta College serves. As an example, Wyse pointed to the current WiFi service on campus.

“We want the system beefed up,” said Wyse. “Where it doesn’t slow down when 20 or 50 people are trying to connect to the same hotspot.”

But he cautioned that these improvements will not be cheap. According to Wyse, estimates for the cost of a proper WiFi system across Shasta College campuses come in at around $400,000. Estimates for the planned technology improvements of key systems across all campuses are just shy of $8 million.

In the broader picture, close to $100 million of the bond would be allocated to infrastructure alone. This number includes the proposed new and expanded construction efforts, as well as upgrades to existing buildings that would fix failing electrical systems, repair deteriorating plumbing and replace aging buildings.

The funding for the bond would come through an annual property tax, which proponents of Measure H estimate at a rate of about $19 per $100,000 of property value. When considering the average home value in Redding is assessed at around $230,000, the cost ends up being around $44 per year per property owner.

“That can be less than buying a cup of coffee a day for a week or two,” said Theresa Markword, Director of Innovation and Special Projects at Shasta College.

For her, the benefits of Measure H far outweigh the cost.

“An improved Shasta College will have a positive economic impact on our area for anybody that’s planning on staying here and living here and making this their community,” Markword said. “The stronger the college we have in the area, the better our community will fare.”

Participants at a recent Measure H rally showing their support via t-shirts.

Participants at a recent Measure H rally showing their support via t-shirts. Photo by Marisa Markword

Previous bonds similar to Measure H resulted in the construction of both the Shasta College Tehama and Trinity campuses, the Health and Science Center in downtown Redding and the Early Childhood Education center on the main campus.

“We want people to know that we have been good stewards with our last bonds,” Dr. Wyse said, adding, “Just about every program at the school will benefit from this one.”

On Nov. 8, voters in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity, Lassen, Humboldt and Modoc counties will have the opportunity to weigh in on the measure.

You can find more information about Measure H at measure-h.com.

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