MSJC board approves purchase contract for Wildomar property

WILDOMAR – The Mt. San Jacinto College Board approved the acquisition of land in Wildomar during its regular meeting on May 8.

The 80.32-acre parcel of vacant land is located on Clinton Keith Rd. between Interstates 15 and 215. The district has had an option on the land since May 1, 2003, when it reached an agreement with the Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District.

In recent negotiations, the college district and the park district agreed to a total purchase price of $2.6 million. The college district will receive a credit in the amount of $175,000 for the deposit it made as part of the option agreement. The final purchase price will be $2,455,000.

The MSJC 2000-2005 Educational Master Plan set goals for campus development that include facilities to serve the growing communities of southwest Riverside County. The 2004-2009 and 2009-2016 Educational Master Plans supported this goal.

This purchase contract is the first step in a three-year process that the college must follow before it can make the final purchase.

During the May 8 meeting, the board heard from Academic Senate President Lorraine Slattery-Farrell that the Academic Excellence Committee recommended the advancement of the following faculty members from Associate Professor to Professor: Dr. Denise Dalaimo, professor of sociology, and Erik Ozolins, professor of anthropology.

Dr. Kathleen Winston, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, introduced a number of nursing students who shared the successes of the program. The highlights included the following.

The program has received $1.7 million in grants since 2010; the state nursing test pass rate went from 88 percent in 2010 to 96 percent in 2014; SWANS (Southwest Association of Nursing Students) have clocked 5,000 community service hours. Anthony Fernandez, a nursing student who is also in the Army Reserves, said that priority enrollment for veterans allowed him to get the classes he needed right away and he will graduate from the program in December 2014.

“It’s pretty fantastic for military veterans,” Fernandez told the board about his experience at MSJC.

On Thursday, May 15, the board held a special work session to discuss the feasibility of a bond and the district’s facilities needs. Catherine Lew, from the Oakland-based consulting firm The Lew Edwards Group, returned to discuss the survey conducted earlier this year that showed there is very high support across the district for a facilities bond.

Lew and a host of other presenters discussed possible ballot language and cost of a potential bond. If voters approved a bond, they would pay less than $25 a year per $100,000 of a property’s assessed value: a $295 million bond would cost voters $14.50 a year; a $375 million bond would cost $18.50 per year; and a $450 million bond would cost $22.10 per year. The average assessed home value across the district is $190,000. The board has not yet made a decision to place a bond measure on the ballot.

On Tuesday, May 20, the board held a special work session to discuss the feasibility of a bond and the district’s facilities needs. The board reviewed potential ballot language in the event the board approves moving forward with a bond measure.

The board will review updated potential bond language during a meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. on June 26 in Room 200 at the San Jacinto Campus and linked to Room 851 on the Menifee Valley Campus. The MSJC Board of Trustees routinely holds two meetings in June for budget approval and other year-end items, but determined that it needed only one meeting in June this year.

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