Skyline computer learning center greets studentsBy Justin Jouvenal
When Skyline College students return to campus this fall, they will be greeted with a gleaming new Center for Advanced Learning complete with 185 computers.
The $2 million project in the campus center marks the beginning of a flurry of improvements that will break ground in late fall, as the Community College District begins to spend a $207 million bond to improve the County's colleges.
Over the next 10 years, Caada College will get a new library, College of San Mateo's planetarium will be renovated and Skyline College will erect a new student union.
Other projects will range from big ticket items to more mundane -- but necessary -- improvements such as new lighting and landscaping.
District officials said the improvements are necessary. Many of the facilities on the three campuses have already outlived their intended life spans.
"Our structures are about 40 years old. Pipes are deteriorating and roofs need to be replaced," said Jose Nunez, the district's executive director of facilities, planning and maintenance. "This is long overdue."
For instance, Nunez said the district loses3,000 gallons of treated water a day because of leaky pipes, which adds up to a lot of wasted money each year.
County voters approved the bond in November with 65 percent of the vote.
The bond will be divided up: $90 million for modernizing facilities, $77 million for new construction and $40 million for new equipment such as computers and microscopes.
District officials are gearing up for the projects by detailing an overall master plan, taking care of logistical details and putting out requests for bids for work on the projects.
But the bond won't cover all the district's needs. District officials have identified some $412 million in projects that need to be done -- from increasing energy efficiency to renovations.
The weak economy is actually good news for taxpayers, when it comes to the bond. District officials say rock-bottom interest rates mean taxpayers won't have to shell out as much money for interest on the bond.
"Rates are much lower than we expected," said Barbara Christensen, a spokeswoman for the district. "We are estimating taxpayers will save $2.5 million."
Copyright ©2002 San Mateo County Times. Published 08/22/2002.