Update: 9:30 a.m., June 6: With all 217 precincts reporting in Tuesday's Primary Presidential Election, West Valley-Mission Community College District's $350 million Measure C bond narrowly prevailed with 27,215 yes votes, or 58.68 percent and 19,161 no votes, or 41.32 percent.
"We are humbled and grateful for the tremendous support of voters who saw the importance of updating aging buildings and classrooms at West Valley and Mission colleges," said Adrienne Grey, president of the WVMCCD Board of Trustees Wednesday morning.
"We are very grateful for the community’s support of our colleges, and of the affordable, high quality education they provide to tens of thousands of local students each year. The community’s trust will enable us to continue this work for decades to come. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made Measure C a success! I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the many volunteers – college staff, students, and community members – who worked so hard throughout the campaign. It’s their tremendous grassroots effort that made this success possible," Grey said.
The bond's passage comes as no surprise to election observers as West Valley College President Lori Gaskin and Grey campaigned heavily for its success in the months leading up to the race.
Gaskin has said supporting the 40-year Measure C is an investment in the community's future. The two-college district includes West Valley College in Saratoga and Mission College in Santa Clara and enroll more than 26,000 students annually. The district serves residents of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Santa Clara and is governed by a seven-member board.
San Jose State University political scientist Larry Gerston said the measure needed 55 percent of the vote for passage and indicated he hadn't seen any active opposition to it. "Voters tend to be fairly supportive of construction bonds," Gerston said.
WVC's enrollment is about 11,000 students.
"We are the institution that provides freshman and sophomore education so that our students can transfer to public and private four-year institutions," Gaskin told the Los Gatos Town Council in early April while appealing for the measure's support.
Money from the bond will be used to upgrade and renovate several district buildings that are nearly four decades old, officials have said.
In 2004, Gaskin explained, voters approved Measure H, which provided $235 million to the two colleges to upgrade facilities.
WVC received $97 million, which allowed the school to renovate three buildings taking the highest-need complexes and upgrading them rather than tearing them down to save money, the president said.
In addition, the school built the first two new buildings in 38 years —the Science Lab and a Technology Center—and made other infrastructure upgrades related to Americans With Disabilities Act upgrades since in the late 1960s accessibility wasn't considered when building educational facilities.
Gaskin said WVC has 15 buildings that are in need of upgrades and lack educational facilities conducive to teaching and learning because they're antiquated, old and have no technology.
With the Measure C bond money, Gaskin said of the 15 buildings that remain untouched at WVC, 14 would be renovated.
Property owners would be levied $1.625 cents per $100, or $16.25 per $100,000 of assessed valuation to fund the bond during fiscal year 2012-13. The measure would need a 55 percent majority to pass.