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Capital donations could fund WCC’s construction plans

Hudson Valley Community College plans to grow its Malta campus with a $12.5M expansion. But it doesn’t plan to issue bonds or seek taxpayer support for the project. HVCC intends to fund the project entirely through capital donations. At the start of the fall semester, HVCC had already raised nearly a quarter of the funding it needs.

The project will support HVCC’s semiconductor manufacturing; electrical engineering technology; mechatronics; clean energy management, and health care programs. The expansion will include the construction of a clean room, RF and vacuum technology labs, a mechatronics lab and a STEM Education Center.

Malta, NY is home to GlobalFoundries, a semiconductor manufacturer. GF already has one plant in Malta and is expanding its existing footprint. Its new facility will add 1,000 new jobs when complete. The demand for skilled workers is high in the Hudson Valley, and companies are willing to make capital donations to fund the construction project.

Using capital donations will enable HVCC to construct a new building without asking for taxpayer assistance, state assistance or raising tuition. This building has a lot of upside for local employers and taxpayers. The return-on-investment would be huge, if the taxpayers were being asked to invest in it.

Capital donations could eliminate public, student costs of construction

Washtenaw Community College should use capital donations to pay for buildings that have little academic merit, but the Administration values. Like the Health and Fitness Center, or the proposed convention center and hotel, or even the “Advanced Transportation Center.”

Better still, each building should also have a foundation to support it after it opens. WCC doesn’t really pay for building maintenance. It would be insulting to ask a donor to finance a building and then not take care of it. (That’s what WCC does to the taxpayer-funded construction. I can only assume that’s how they’d handle donated buildings.)

The WCC Board of Trustees’ has adopted a policy of issuing bonds for construction on campus without seeking taxpayer approval. Using capital donations to fund the Administration’s pet projects prevents the taxpayers and students from becoming involuntary donors to projects they haven’t asked for, don’t need, and won’t benefit from.

Using foundation support for their ongoing maintenance and upkeep eliminates their cost to the community. It also puts pressure on the WCC Administration to care for these donor-funded structures. After all, buildings are gifts, and you don’t want to treat buildings that someone else pays for like crap, right?

Photo Credit: Gerry Dincher, via Flickr