MARTINEZ -- Contra Costa's community college district is poised to put a $450 million bond measure on next summer's ballot.
Agreeing more work needs to be done to continue renovating some of the 65-year-old district's aging facilities, trustees this week all but approved placing the initiative on the June 2014 ballot.
"We've done a lot of work, but there's a lot of work still to be done," board Vice President John Nejedly said. "I'd like to see a permanent facility in Brentwood and it's obvious we're not going to get state funding. I think we have a strong board and I think we can pass this."
Board President John Marquez agreed, noting that a recently conducted survey showed strong support for the measure.
The district board has been looking at ways to fund future projects since the early this year, including a local bond measure.
Estimated costs to finish the second and third phases of long-range plans for Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College is about $700 million, said Ray Pyle, the district's chief facilities planner.
A survey of 1,200 likely voters conducted by EMC Research in October found that 67 percent would be in favor of a $450 million bond, while 60 percent would be in favor of a $650 million bond.
Contra Costa homeowners now pay $13 each year for each $100,000 in assessed value for the 2002 and 2006 measures. A $450 million measure would just about double that.
A $650 million measure would have increased homeowner payments by about $18 per $100,000.
A bond measure would require 55 percent approval.
The survey results also show that the district and its colleges have strong favorability ratings, especially within their own service areas, said Alex Evans of EMC Research.
The bond proceeds would help improve accessibility for those with disabilities, campus grounds and classroom and lab technology.
Projects on the table at Contra Costa College include seismic retrofitting of existing buildings and a new Science and Allied Health building. DVC's work would include renovating the Engineering Technology, Music and Performing Arts buildings, and a new Art building and Learning Center complex. A new Student Activities building and Performing Art building are in the plans for LMC.
Expansion of the San Ramon center and the first stage of a new campus in Brentwood would also be included with funding from the bond.
The district approved two similar bond measures over the past 12 years for improvements, a $120 million measure in 2002 and a $286.5 million one in 2006.
Large-scale construction work is underway on all three of the campuses.
"When you look at the work we've done (with those bonds), clearly we're transforming our campuses, but a lot more needs to be done," Pyle said.
Trustees were split about the bond amount, before deciding on the $450 million number. Vicki Gordon wanted to go for a higher amount because of the effort it takes to campaign. Matthew Rinn raised concerns that some vital projects would not be built for years, and would do students a disservice.
Trustees Nejedly and Greg Enholm expressed concern about asking voters for too much.
The Contra Costa board will formally consider forward with a ballot measure in February.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.