The Joliet Junior College Board of Trustees voted 4 to 3 to approve a measure allowing the college to issue alternate revenue bonds at their Aug. 13 meeting.
The bond issuance is part of a funding strategy that the Board of Trustees approved at their July 30 meeting to finance the construction of priority projects which include a new multipurpose building on the college’s Main Campus and the expansion of the existing Romeoville Campus.
Board members who voted for the measure include Chairman Andy Mihelich, Jeff May, Bob Wunderlich, Sue Klen and Student Trustee Keith Bryant, though the student trustee’s vote is advisory. Board members voting against the measure include Tina Markley, Mike O’Connell and Barbara Adams.
“The multipurpose building and expansion of Romeoville Campus were identified as priorities in the initial master planning process six years ago,” said Board Chair Andy Mihelich. “To keep the taxpayer referendum as low as possible these projects were left off. When the Board was advised that students were willing to pay for these projects through an increase in the capital assessment fee, actions to discuss and vote on these projects were placed in motion.”
The funding strategy is comprised of the $70 million bond issue and a $4 per credit hour capital assessment fee increase that will go into effect in spring 2014. The bond sale includes $45 million for the Main Campus multipurpose building and expansion of the Romeoville Campus, and $25 million earmarked for debt restructuring.
The student fee increase will bring the college’s overall tuition rate from $107 to $111 per credit hour and will support the bond sale. The college’s bond rating from Standard and Poor’s (S&P) is AA.
At the July 30 meeting, a public hearing was held on the bond issue, and trustees voted on and approved the capital assessment fee 4 to 2.
The multipurpose building and the Romeoville Campus expansion are outlined as priority projects in the college’s 2013 Master Plan Update, which was approved by trustees in April. Completed by Legat Architects, the update reconsiders 2008 master plan projects not yet implemented, examines new projects, and recommends priorities that respond to various challenges facing the college in the future.
Expansion of the Romeoville Campus—constructed in 1993—is a top priority for the college. In the last 10 years, enrollment at Romeoville has grown 45 percent with current enrollment topping out at 4,000 students. The master plan calls for additional space for academic programs and student development services to respond to this growth.