Alamo Colleges' Board of Trustees Calls for Organization of Citizens' Bond Advisory Committee for CIP
Alamo Colleges' Board Chair Anna U. Bustamante announced that "The Board unanimously agreed that the CIP is critical to the Alamo Colleges' ability to continue to expand its Centers of Excellence, in order to provide a skilled technical workforce to meet present and future employer needs in critical high-demand, high-growth industries in our region. The CIP will support the Alamo Colleges to address the region's pervasive skills gap in high-skilled professions such as information technology/cyber security; health and biosciences; and advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics."
The Alamo Colleges last engaged in a CIP in 2005. Since then, credit student enrollment has increased by 24 percent to 65,559 and non-credit students to 25,000 for a total of 90,559 students in Fall 2015. With the next 15 years' demographic growth, the Alamo Colleges projects credit Fall term enrollment to increase to 95,990, plus approximately 30,000 to 40,000 continuing education students. This represents a projected total enrollment growth of over 45 percent by 2030.
All of the Alamo Colleges have identified pressures on existing facilities and critical projected facility needs. Deferred maintenance, improvement of building conditions, upgraded technology to meet program requirements, instructional improvements such as redesigned classrooms and labs, and student support facilities expansion and renovation are key issues across all campuses. Faculty have been involved in the planning process including presentations to the board about the classroom of the future. Faculty, university partners and employers will all be included in user committees that will help design the new and renovated buildings. Central to the District's long-term needs assessment is the fact that San Antonio is expected to grow by an additional 1,000,000 people by 2030.
In addition, the Alamo Colleges has assumed a prominent role in regional workforce development, recently being tasked by San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and County Judge Nelson Wolff to co-lead with the SA Chamber of Commerce SA-TEC (Talent for Economic Competitiveness), a workforce and educational collaborative charged with creating a regional talent development pipeline aligned to targeted industries that are critical to the economic development of San Antonio and the region.
Chair Bustamante affirmed,"The CIP will enable the Alamo Colleges to fulfill its commitment to the community to serve as a talent pipeline and economic development generator by creating and sustaining high-wage, high-growth and high demand jobs in the region, with the goal of establishing a living-wage middle class in San Antonio and surrounding areas."
"The investment in technology and modern learning environments that the CIP will provide will enhance our region's economic competitiveness," said Roberto Zárate, District 5 trustee and Board Finance Committee Chair. "The Alamo Colleges' proven track record of financial stewardship, affirmed by our many national awards, has earned the trust of our community," he added.
In the last 30 years, the Alamo Colleges has engaged in only two bond-financed capital improvement programs-in 1987 and 2005. This has resulted in a bonded indebtedness tax rate of 4.35 cents per $100 valuation. Due to the absence of state support for the construction of community college facilities, improvement of the Alamo Colleges' infrastructure and facilities can only be done through bond financing, Bustamante noted, adding that the proposed CIP amount of $400,000,000 will not result in a tax rate increase.
Construction of new facilities and rehabilitation of existing facilities will focus on meeting student and employer needs to successfully complete training, immediately pursue a career or transfer to a university and complete a baccalaureate degree. CIP projects will allow the Alamo Colleges to continue to provide all students with access to a quality education at facilities meeting accepted industry standards.
Bustamante added, "The larger goal of the CIP is to position the Alamo Colleges to continue to meet the community's need for post-secondary academic education, technical training and critical, high-demand, high-growth workforce programs, or Centers of Excellence, that will help our citizens enjoy economic success."
Zárate, who is also board chair of the American Association of Community College Trustees, said that his national role reaffirms that "The Alamo Colleges is recognized as one of the most prominent community colleges in the U.S. because of our innovative and high quality programs. The CIP will further our efforts to develop the skilled workforce that area employers need to successfully compete in a global economy and allow the Alamo Colleges' nationally recognized leadership and student success initiatives to be expanded and enhanced to serve as models for other communities."
According to a December 2014 study, the Alamo Colleges has a positive annual economic impact of $3.2 billion on the local economy.