H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Dec 2, 2013 8:41 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

College campus in need of hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs

Cuesta College officials say their campuses are in need of major renovations. The total bill for the upgrades could range anywhere from $100 to $250 million.

Officials say they are considering two different approaches. One would raise money through a general obligation bond, an idea that failed in 2006. The other would be to raise money through donations from the community.

"When you walk on the campus, we're able to keep it looking relatively nice from the outside," said Terry Reece, Cuesta College Director of Maintenance.

Reece says a look on the inside tells a different story.

"These have been recently refinished. See the powder coming off the wall?" said Reece, pointing to receding dry wall in one of the bathrooms.

One by one, Reece points out the school's decay. From the gymnasium floors and building pillars, to the school's roofs, all show signs of aging.

"Well if you figure a normal large roof on a campus is probably somewhere between a quarter to a half million dollars," said Reece.

He says they have 60 that need work totaling about $30 million. He says the green electric boxes scattered on campus are outdated. They supply the campus with its power.

"In the last three years we've had two of those fail catastrophically, taking the campus down without power for anywhere between a day to three days," said Reece.

Each of those has a price tag of nearly $50,000.

Reece says 16 HVC units, nearly two years over their maximum use life, are a priority as well, totaling another $1.5 million.

"This is pretty much wasted. You can see the components are literally falling off it," said Reece pointing to the guts of an air conditioning unit.

He says bond or no bond, the problems found on the campus will not repair themselves.

"Just the paint for this one small building right there is $150,000," said Reece. "If we get it, if we don't get it, somehow the district has to come up with the money to fix the buildings," said Reece.

Nearly $80 million will go towards expanding the North County campus with four new buildings.

School officials are weighing the financials of a bond measure now to see if current interest rates are enticing enough to draw investors.

On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., school board trustees will discuss results of a survey done by Oakland-based consulting firm Lew Edwards Group in October to gauge public support for the possible bond measure.

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