West Valley College President Lori Gaskin and Adrienne Grey, president of the West Valley-Mission Community College District Board of Trustees, appeared this month before the Los Gatos Town Council and the Campbell City Council seeking an endorsement for the upcoming $350 million Measure C ballot initiative.
Gaskin 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.
WVC's enrollment is about 11,000 students, according to Gaskin.
"We are the institution that provides freshman and sophomore education so that our students can transfer to public and private four-year institutions," Gaskin said.
The college's "sense of place" has been well loved for more than four decades by hundreds of thousands of students, Gaskin noted.
Which means the college has been "used and used and used ... to the point where we are in a set of buildings (we have 18 buildings) that are no younger than 38 years of age."
As a consequence, Gaskin said she and Grey were appearing before the two government bodies the evenings of April 2-3, to share with their members the Measure C movement for passage in the June 5, 2012 primary election.
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.
The women distributed a sheet that contains all the projects that would be funded with Measure C and the ballot language as well.
Grey said seeing the need of the colleges and understanding the value they bring to the communities they serve, the trustees approved placing the measure on the ballot.
The decision, she said, that identified strong support from the community for colleges and higher education and the West Valley side of Santa Clara County, particularly Los Gatos, Campbell, Monte Sereno and Saratoga, indicating strong support.
The women said they were visiting Councils and Chamber of Commerce organizations seeking endorsement for the measure.
With the bond money, Gaskin said of the 15 buildings that remain untouched at WVC, 14 would be renovated, if voters pass Measure C.
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.