ONTARIO – Treasure Valley Community College received nearly $1 million from the state as part of a massive spending bill approved by the 2019 Legislature.

Nicknamed the “Christmas Tree Bill,” House Bill 5050 will deliver about $1.32 billion to local projects across the state, from Clackamas to Malheur counties.

Treasure Valley received $975,000 toward construction of a new Career Technical Education Center.

The college board approved plans last year to remodel and expand the current Vo-Tech building into a state-of-the-art facility for its CTE programs.

The plan is to remodel the current 18,000-square-foot building and add 12,000 square feet at an estimated cost of $6.3 million. However, high construction costs have delayed TVCC’s progress on the project.

To pay for the project, the college has applied for public and private grants. In 2017, the college secured $2.8 million in matching funds from the state of Oregon.

TVCC tried to come up with money through a measure on the November 2016 ballot that would have created $4.8 million in general obligation bonds, but voters rejected it. Instead, the college applied for a grant through the U.S. Economic Development Administration and received $3 million matching funds. But the college couldn’t get the green light on the federal money until it expended money first.

The college has since received the state and federal money, according to Abby Lee, TVCC’s public information director.

Lee said the new state money will be used toward the construction of the new facility. She added that the college would not have to come up with matching funds to receive the money from the state.

“Securing the additional $975,000 will allow TVCC to complete the construction as originally designed to meet industry and student needs in our region. Without these dollars, we will need to scale back the project and reduce lab, classroom and industry training space,” Lee wrote in an email to the Enterprise. “Construction costs have increased since 2014 when our initial request was presented. These new funds significantly reduce the amount of private fundraising that would be needed to complete the project.”   

Lee said the new project cost for the CTE facility is $6.65 million. Although there were talks of scaling back the size of the facility, Lee said the college plans to stick to the original design plans of a 30,000 square-foot center.

“Bid advertising is tentatively scheduled for mid to late September 2019,” Lee wrote. “Construction is scheduled to start December or January.”

Reporter Kristine de Leon: news@malheurenterprise.com or 541-473-3377.

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