Bonds touted to aid CGCC

Independent Newspapers
Monday, October 18, 2004
Salvatore Caputo

The Maricopa County Community College District plans $87 million in improvements for Chandler-Gilbert Community College if voters approve a $951.36 million bond request in the general election Nov. 2.

"People say they support the community colleges, so they need to know that a vote for Proposition 401 - at the bottom of the ballot - will support them," said Jay Thorne, spokesman for a citizens committee to promote the proposition. "Chandler-Gilbert Community College is the fastest-growing of the (Maricopa Community Colleges)."

That means most of the money dedicated to the school will be used to expand space, he said.

"The demand far outpaces the college's ability to meet it without the bond money," he said.

An informational brochure about the bond request indicates that the $87 million dedicated to CGCC would provide for 170,000 square feet of new or renovated classrooms, labs, an information technology complex, athletics facilities, performing arts space and a student center expansion at the school's main campus in Chandler.

The school will also build a healthcare training facility on its Williams Campus at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa.

The Phoenix-based Arizona Tax Research Association is opposing the bond request, said Michael Hunter, the association's vice president.

"It's an all or nothing package that includes items we can't support," Mr. Hunter said.

"Approximately $300 million of the $951 million bond is earmarked for technology (purchases)," he said.

His group maintains that bond money is a legitimate tool for "bricks and mortar expansion" but not for buying technology, which has a shelf life that may be shorter than the time it takes to repay the bonds.

The group had opposed previous district bond requests in 1992 and 1994 for the same reasons, he said.

No one from the district could comment on the issue because district employees are prohibited by law from trying to influence the outcome of an election, said Trish Niemann, spokeswoman for Chandler-Gilbert Community College.