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October 10, 2002

Election will affect campus construction

CSUS has experienced unprecedented enrollment growth over the past few years. To serve these students and to invest in their future, the future of the University and to accommodate growth, CSUS has undertaken many steps. These include a significant building program, scheduling year-round classes, extending days and hours of operation, and offering long distance education and off-site programs as well as offering alternative methods of instruction such as televised and online computer classes.

Nonetheless, regional demographics indicate the need to build out the current campus master plan to accommodate predicted growth over the next few years. If the University does not build, it will exceed its current capacity in five years.

This Election Day, Nov. 5, California voters will be presented with Prop. 47, a $13 billion education bond measure that includes funds for construction within all segments of public education from kindergarten through university.

Since the 1980s the Legislature has determined that construction projects and major renovations at California public universities and colleges need to be financed by voter approved general obligation bond issues. The November bond measure is one of two approved by the Legislature to go before the voters. The second will be on the March 2004 ballot and if passed would provide for three additional buildings at CSUS. For a bond to qualify for the ballot, the Legislature must approve it by a two-thirds vote and the governor must sign it.

The bond funds would be divided four ways by a predetermined formula to provide for new construction and a backlog of renovation and repair projects.

For the November bond measure, CSUS has $20.6 million of projects awaiting funding on the CSU statewide approved list. Should the bond measure pass, the first project currently on that list is $18.6 million to upgrade deteriorating infrastructure, such as the original sewer pipes, which were not designed to handle so many buildings and students. It will also provide for changing aged and inefficient heating and air conditioning units. Some wiring and a new fire alarm system will be added. This is the second phase of a three-part effort to address these infrastructure deficiencies.

Much of the campus was built in the early 1950s and is in need of replacement, renovation or repair. Another approximate $2 million dollars from the bond will provide for projects such as safety upgrades in a research laboratory in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, a new mechanical engineering lab, renovations for a graphic design lab in Kadema Hall, improvements in Shasta Hall, renovation to the High Tech Center, remodel of the Maryjane Rees Language, Speech and Hearing Center, as well as classroom improvements in Amador and Eureka halls.

Voter approved bond funds and interest are repaid from state general funds, primarily income and sales taxes. They do not require a tax increase, but do use state revenues.

The CSU Board of Trustees and many other educational and business organizations are backing the measure. Opponents stress that California already has too much debt.

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