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UCC $8 million grant included in preliminary state budget

November 30, 2018

UCC is expected to receive $8 million from the state for an Industrial Arts and Technology building, according to a proposed budget published by Gov. Kate Brown’s office.

How long the money remains on the budget will depend on what happens over the next several months in the Oregon Legislature.

This is not the first time money for the building was included in the governor’s budget. The same amount survived the governor’s budget from the last biennium, only to go unused when UCC failed to secure matching funding.

In a similar scenario for this biennium, UCC must secure a matching amount, which won’t tentatively happen until January 2021.

UCC Board Member Steve Loosley said the college has a few more years to raise the funds and will begin doing that once it narrows the scope of how the college can meet the community needs with the proposed building.

“It’s aimed toward expanding the college’s use of career and technical education,” Loosley said. “Our welding program is just bursting at the seams. We’re excited about this and there are real possibilities it could benefit our students and the local businesses and our community as a whole by aligning the use of the building with our ever-changing needs.”

UCC placed the proposed Industrial Arts and Technology building on its 10-year UCC Master Plan in 2008. Other buildings in UCC’s plan include the Allied Health and Science center, an addition to the administration building, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute and the Woolley Workforce Training Center in downtown Roseburg.

The proposed building would be 46,000 square feet and bring automotive, diesel, welding and fabrication, and construction technology programs together. According to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, it is expected to cost $20 million.

The UCC Master Plan was developed in light of the recession in 2008 and “operated as the overarching goal of the planning process.” According to the updated plan, the recession made it more difficult for the college to raise funds for the project and increased the college’s enrollment numbers.

“This meant that UCC had to do more with less, and use its resources as efficiently as possible,” the plan read.

Enrollment peaked in the 2010-2011 school year and the school was still pursuing funding, according to the 2016-2017 financial report.

UCC President Debra Thatcher was unavailable for comment.

State Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, said the grant money could be rolled over from previous years but not necessarily dispersed, because UCC has to raise matching funds in order to receive the money.

“A lot of our problem in Douglas County is we’re about granted out,” Leif said. “You can only go back so many times.”

He plans to meet with Brown in two weeks to discuss higher education in the budget, which will be approved before the next biennium begins July 1.

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