Published in the March 21 – April 3, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life

Dr. Kathleen Rose

A milestone is approaching for our community. In 2019 we will celebrate 100 years of higher education access for the South Valley with the centennial anniversary of the founding of our local community college.

Originally located in Hollister and founded as San Benito Junior College, Gavilan Community College has provided high-quality and affordable education to our community for generations.

This year we completed an Educational Master Plan and Facilities Master Plan to ensure that we are prepared to meet the needs of the next generation of students. In order to do so, the Gavilan Joint Community College District Board of Trustees is considering placing a $248 million bond measure on the November 2018 ballot.

With the rising cost of attending a four-year college, our local community colleges ensure that everyone, including lower and middle-income students, have an opportunity to succeed in college and future careers.

Gavilan educates the healthcare professionals who serve our medical needs, the police and firefighters who keep us safe, and the early childhood teachers who nurture our preschoolers. Gavilan College prepares our students with the high-tech skills they need to compete for good jobs.

A potential bond measure would:

  • Repair or replace leaky roofs, old rusty plumbing, and faulty electrical systems where needed.
  • Upgrade the main campus in Gilroy and add classrooms, labs and career training facilities for STEM — science, math, engineering, and technology.
  • Upgrade and add classrooms and labs to help local students complete the first two years of college affordably, and transfer to the Cal-State or University of California systems.
  • Expand the Veterans’ Center, which provide job training, job placement, counseling and support services to military veterans and their families.
  • Improve access for students with disabilities.
  • Improve student safety and campus security systems including security lighting security cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinklers.
  • Add classrooms, labs and facilities in San Benito County, and at the Coyote Valley Center, to offer a much larger selection of classes, certificate programs and degrees.
  • Renovate the aging college library to meet modern standards for technology and research.

Every dollar raised will stay in the community and cannot be taken away by the State of California, ensuring that students receive all the benefits of a bond measure.

The measure would cost no more than $25 per $100,000 of assessed property value. It would require a Citizens’ Oversight Committee and a project list so that the community will know exactly how and when the money will be spent.

I welcome your input as we work to ensure our colleges are updated to continue providing quality education for everyone in our community. For more information please contact me at krose@gavilan.edu.

Dr. Kathleen Rose is the Superintendent/President of Gavilan Community College. She wrote this column for Gilroy Life.

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