TCC campaigns for expansion

Thursday, 08 May 2008
On Tuesday, Tulsans have an opportunity to vote on a growth proposal for Oklahoma’s most successful community college – Tulsa Community College asks that day for voter approval of a $76 million package to be funded by a permanent tax increase from 7 mills to 8.7 mills and a seven-year bond issue.

The proposal specifies improvements and additions at all campus locations throughout Tulsa County and adds a new facility in Owasso.

Voters approved a bond issue for TCC in 1999 that was paid in 2004.  Since 1999, student enrollment at TCC has increased more than 20 percent.  The last millage increase for TCC was approved in 1994.  The bond issue is for capital improvements and the millage increase is for operating expense.

In a morning campaign kick-off on April 29, TCC President Dr. Tom McKeon spoke of success and the need to continue growth of one of Oklahoma’s top institutions of higher education.

“Since 1970, TCC has served nearly 400,000 students.  That’s more than the official population of the City of Tulsa.  On May 13, the citizens of Tulsa County will have an opportunity to vote on a capital bond package that will provide $76 million in new facilities for the students of Tulsa Community College, located on all four existing campuses and the City of Owasso,” McKeon said.

“This proposal represents strong collaboration that will create both efficiencies and improvements in higher education.  In Owasso, we will build a new facility on land donated by the citizens of that community, and we will work with Tulsa Technology Center to combine key student resources as they bring their Owasso facility online next door to our site.

“With the City of Tulsa, we are also sharing land and construction costs.  This will occur at the Northeast Campus when we provide land to the City and share costs of construction of a top quality regional fire and emergency training facility and classroom building.  Together, Tulsa and TCC will be creating one of the finest fire training departments and emergency preparedness teams in the region, and we will be sharing those resources with area municipal, rural and volunteer departments,” McKeon said. “[In both cases], we are taking taxpayer dollars and stretching them further.”

“This bond issue and millage election will mean jobs; as we work with local hospitals and clinics to expand our nursing and allied healthcare programs.  As we increase the number of students that can take our education and business programs, we are creating a more skilled and job-ready work force.  Companies like Sinclair, EDS, and the Bank of Oklahoma have already pledged to TCC graduates that they have hiring opportunities through our specialized training in the computer area.  As more and more jobs in our economy demand education and customized skills, TCC will be there to meet the demand with resources provided by this election Tuesday, May 13th,” McKeon said.

“The investments our citizens made in 1970 changed the landscape of higher education in Tulsa.  Today TCC ranks as one of the premier community colleges in the country.  This tradition can continue May 13th.  I urge all citizens to go to the polls and exercise their right to vote for the future of higher education,“ McKeon added.

The comprehensive list of improvements follows, identified by location:

Metro Campus                                              $3,540,000
Construct and equip buildings for laboratories, classrooms, offices, and support facilities for the development and expansion of programs including, but not limited to: Distance Learning, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Video Production, Journalism, Web Design, and Broadcast Production.
Remodel and equip buildings for laboratories, classrooms, offices, and support facilities at the Metro Campus site for the development and expansion of programs including, but not limited to: Physical Therapy Assistant, Dental Hygiene, Radiography, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Sonography, and Medical Office Administration.

Northeast Campus                                       $13,514,000
Purchase and acquire land, construct and equip buildings for laboratories, classrooms, offices, lecture/conference areas and support facilities.  This includes utilities, paving and site development at the Northeast Campus for the development and expansion of programs including: Fire and Emergency Services, First Responder Training, Community Preparedness and Homeland Security.

West Campus                                                $5,950,000
Construct, remodel and equip buildings for laboratories, classrooms, offices, and support facilities.  This includes utilities, paving and site development at the West Campus site for the development and expansion of programs, including the expansion of the Child Development program and increased space for additional children and student instruction.

Southeast Campus                                      $10,146,000
Construct, remodel and equip large multi-user computer laboratory to support the program including, but not limited to: Biotechnology, Interior Design, Accounting, Information Technology, Management, and Marketing.  Construct, remodel and equip a student support center with facilities for student academic and career advisement and skill assessment.

Expansion of parking facilities                         $1,200,000

Owasso Learning Center                           $16,000,000
Land acquisition, construction and equipment of classrooms, laboratories, offices, lecture/conference areas and support facilities.  This includes utilities, paving and site development in Owasso for the development and expansion programs including: Business, Leadership, Management, and Health programs such as Health Information Technology.

Contingencies                                              $21,570,000
While all $76 million will be used on the projects identified, 30 percent of the total package is set aside for contingencies and changes in needs.

For a homeowner with property on the tax rolls valued at $100,000, passage of the two proposals will mean a property tax increase of $4.05 per month or $48.60 per year.  After seven years, the bond issue will expire and the tax is reduced to $1.42 per month or only $17.04 per year for that homeowner.

John Wiscaver, Oklahoma Public Affairs Director for State Farm Insurance, also spoke at the campaign kick-off, saying, “As business people, we understand the direct corollation between business and education.  The reality is that a better educated workforce is a tremendously positive and important element for us as a workforce partner in this community.  TCC is a great asset for this community.”

Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor said, “I encourage everyone to fully understand the investment that you have the opportunity to make on May 13th that expands our economy, keeps our city safe, and that gives the next generation a wonderful opportunity to further their education in their own hometown.“

Lisa Palmer, now an accounts manager for Microsoft Corporation, spoke for many former TCC students, saying, “I have many titles, but I am most proud to list TCC graduate among them.  As a working adult with a young family, TCC provided me with access to inexpensive high quality courses and excellent guidance counseling.  This academic foundation has served as the bedrock for my personal and professional success.

“Leveraging this time at TCC, I now hold a Masters of Technology in Engineering and a Master of Business Administration.  Every day, I am able to use this education to the benefit of Tulsa companies through my role as a corporate account representative for Microsoft.  In this capacity, I assist local companies with strategic planning and implementation of technology solutions that are designed to drive value to their businesses and to the community.

Working hand in hand with these Tulsa corporations, it’s obvious to me that there is an ongoing demand for the courses and varied opportunities that are offered by TCC,” Palmer continued.

"Building on TCC’s already strong foundation, we have an opportunity as a community to say ‘yes’ on Tuesday, May 13 – ‘yes’ to building a pool of educated workers whose time and talents will strengthen local companies and communities.  I hope from my experience, you will agree with me – YES, TCC works!" Palmer concluded.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 May 2008 )