Bond Issue could mean Wake Tech expansion

October 25, 2012 1:58:21 PM PDT
Voters this fall are deciding if Wake Tech will get new classrooms and buildings as part of a bond issue.

Some are wondering will it mean a tax increase.

Candice Parker is a Wake Tech Community College student studying architectural technology and construction management. Like many of classmates, she's working on a second career. But, one obstacle she's faced this past year is courses filling up quickly due to increased enrollment.

"I have been placed on a waiting list and it's pretty difficult, especially here when moving forward with your classes depends on you getting into certain classes at certain points of time," said Parker. "So, when you are on a waiting list, it can push you back a whole semester or a whole year."

More than 5,400 students are placed on waiting lists at Wake Tech each semester. The community college saw enrollment increase more than 55 percent over the past five years. And that's why the school is asking voters to approve $200 million in bonds.

"The bond will provide Wake Tech the capacity to educate about 20,000 more people when all the facilities are complete," said Wake Tech President Dr. Steven Scott.

If approved, voters would not see a tax increase now. But, it would use up the county's capacity for borrowing, which would impact any future school related bonds in Wake County.

This isn't the first time Wake Tech has appealed to voters. Back in 2004 and 2007 they had bond referendums that were overwhelmingly approved by voters. As a result, the money they got went to the North Campus where four out of 10 new buildings have been completed.

If voters say yes, work will continue at the North Campus erecting three new buildings. The public safety campus will be expanded, and it will go toward construction of a new RTP campus in Morrisville.

The Wake County Taxpayers Association's board has unanimously approved the Wake Tech bond issue.

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