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November 12, 2010 > Voters approve Ohlone's Measure G

Voters approve Ohlone's Measure G

Submitted By Gosia Gizycki

Wednesday morning, Ohlone College woke up to great news. Voters in the community college's district had approved Measure G, a bond for $349M to repair, upgrade and improve the facilities at the Fremont campus.

The majority of voters said "Yes!" they want to invest in the community college that has provided opportunities for higher education and job training and contributed to the economic development of the region for the past 40 years. Although the bond measure required 55 percent to pass, 63 percent of the voters approved it. What does this mean for Ohlone College?

"The Fremont campus had nine original academic buildings, built in the 1970s, that are showing their age. From standards that don't meet today's requirements for fire and earthquake safety, to labs and classrooms that don't accommodate current technology, to deteriorating infrastructures such as elevators, electrical and plumbing systems that must be repaired or replaced, the Fremont campus has a long list of needed improvements," explains Dr. Gari Browning, President of Ohlone for the past three years.

In 1974, when the Fremont campus opened, there was no Internet, there were no personal computers and wireless telephones were science fiction. While Ohlone has worked hard to keep up with progress, the wiring and wireless technology needs have been patched onto existing systems and are now close to exceeding the electrical and physical capacity of the current facilities.

Most of the classrooms need media equipment such as projectors that allow faculty to plug in a computer and link with the Internet or show videos or PowerPoint presentations as part of the instructional activities. Laboratory facilities also need upgrading. Science labs still use beakers, pipettes and microscopes but now we have DNA sequencers, ELISA* readers and mass spectrometers that do not fit the science lab set ups of the 1970s. The college plans to upgrade the media and technology capacity of the classrooms and to construct a new science center that will address current and emerging science programs.

The college community of staff, faculty and administrators, as well as architectural consultants, has spent more than two years reviewing the needs of the campus and devising a Facilities Master Plan that includes all the projects to be addressed. The plan is integrated with the District's Education Master Plan so that the facilities needs are determined by educational needs and priorities. These plans were the basis for seeking Measure G and will be used as the foundation for the prioritization and sequencing of projects.

"We're excited about what this bond will allow us to do to serve this community's needs," says Dr. Browning. "As the community invests in the college through these bond funds, Ohlone will be delivering a return on that investment that will continue to grow in value in terms of educational opportunities, job training and economic growth for the Tri-Cities."

For more information about Ohlone College, visit www.ohlone.edu

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