Local taxpayers approve projects years in advance
By Austin Mcwhorter
With Amarillo College’s budget being cut back by the state, it can be difficult to understand how and why construction and other projects still are in full swing on some campuses.
“The money probably didn’t come from the students,” said Cain Sanchez, a criminal justice major.
The money did not come from the students. General obligation bonds, voted on by Amarillo taxpayers, provide funding for construction and renovation projects on AC campuses.
The college does not receive state funding to keep facilities up to date and in good repair, so in November 2007, taxpayers within the Amarillo Junior College District voted on and passed a $68 million bond issue.
As a result of the vote, Amarillo property owners were dealt a tax increase of about 0.027 percent.
“This tax increase pays for the bonds that fund general obligation bonds, which does not go into the general operating revenue of the college,” said Terry Berg, vice president of business affairs.
“That’s why construction is still going after we received budget cuts; they are two different revenue streams.”
Before the construction projects began, AC had to select an architecture firm and a construction manager at risk to handle building projects funded by the approved bond.
The college sent out requests for qualifications, and companies replied with presentations on how projects would be completed. The AC board of regents chose the bidder they believed would do the best job.
Page & Associates was chosen for the job as the CMR, and architects from Shiver-Megert & Associates were contracted.
The college handles the fiscal side of projects by having the CMR look over architects’ drawings to quote an estimated cost, Berg said. After completion of a project, if costs exceed the initial quote, the money will come directly from the company’s pocket. If they do the job for less, AC is charged the actual cost of the project.
For more information on the bond election projects and the progress of the renovation and building process, visit www.actx.edu/bond.
Originally published: Thursday, September 15, 2011