Voters in November will decide on a $162.5 million bond referendum to improve facilities and build three new buildings at College of the Mainland, after a board vote Monday.

Trustees in a 6-0 vote approved calling an election Nov. 6 for a bond issue to finance several capital projects, including a new building to house science, technology, engineering and math programs, a new industrial careers building and a new student success building.

Trustee Rosalie Kettler was not at the meeting because of a death in the family, officials said.

“This college is 50 years old and its buildings are not in great shape,” Trustee Don Gartman said. “I want to thank everyone who worked on this.”

The College of the Mainland has not had a successful bond election since voters approved a $4.75 million referendum in 1970, officials said.

Texas City leaders have long argued that the campus is in need of capital improvements, but officials have had several recent failures at passing bond referendums.

Voters rejected bond proposals in 2007 and 2011, which some have attributed to resentment against previous college boards.

“For the past one and a half years, we’ve worked diligently to strengthen the image of the college,” President Warren Nichols said. “We’ve created great partnerships between the college and businesses, industries and the community.”

Trustees in 2016 hired PBK to create a master plan and formed a committee to begin talks on a bond issue. But bitterness and vitriol between the board and a former college president ultimately led to her resignation that same year.

The college delayed the bond proposition until it hired Nichols in January 2017.

“The board is in-sync and working on behalf of the students,” Gartman said of why the most recent effort is different. “We have an experienced president working with the board.”

The community sees that the board is working together with the president, Gartman said.

Representatives of a bond advisory committee presented the proposed referendum ahead of the trustees’ vote.

The largest portion of the referendum — about $138 million — is proposed for the three new buildings.

The 160,000-square foot STEM and Allied Health building will include new programs such as surgical technology, physical therapy assistance and communications, said Ruth Rendon, spokeswoman for the college.

The proposed 90,000-square foot industrial careers building would house the occupational safety technician and heating, ventilation and air conditioning programs, among others, Rendon said.

The planned 60,000-square foot student success building would replace the existing administration building, Rendon said.

The rest of the bond would go toward renovations and expansions at the fine arts building, physical plant and technology upgrades, officials said. The police station, technical vocation and administration centers would be demolished under the current bond proposal, officials said.

Officials have argued that expanding the campus is necessary to keep pace with increasing student enrollment.

Enrollment at the college has grown by about 21 percent during the past 10 years, according to district figures.

During the fall 2008 semester, 3,561 students were enrolled. By the fall 2017, enrollment had grown to 4,328, Rendon said.

Nichols last summer recommended trustees approve a $16.25 million maintenance tax bond to begin making repairs to existing buildings on campus, instead of holding off for a bond election. The maintenance tax bond didn’t require voter approval.

Registered voters who live in Dickinson, Hitchcock, Santa Fe and Texas City school district boundaries are eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 election, officials said.

If approved, the bond would increase taxes on the average home in the district valued at about $120,800 by about $141 per year, officials said.

The current maintenance and operations tax rate is 0.216 per $100 valuation, officials said. If approved, the estimated interest and sinking tax rate would increase from zero to .117 per $100 valuation, Rendon said.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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(20) comments

Jose' Boix

http://www.com.edu/news/article/2018-06-25/college-of-the-mainland-trustees-call-for-1625-million-bond-election

Brian Tamney

No No No, just got screwed by tcisd, which i get no benefit from, if com needs money raise the cost for people using it, not those who livee within a certain area!!!

David Smith

And once again... there's that word....ABOUT...
Did you not learn from the last two times?
No mention was made of the ugly stepchild... how much will be funneled to a non tax paying entity.....League City...?
Before you start bashing.... I think Its time to reinovate COM....I agree its long overdue.
I'm only pointing out some of whats kept COM from moving forward in the past.
The largest and fastest growing city in Galveston County with a COM satellite campus
That has no monetary responsibility or obligation while Dickinson Hitchcock Texas City And Santa Fe have to bear the cost is WRONG. This has been openly discussed in the past bond elections.... ... but has been IGNORED... thus giving the average voter the idea that the board has a ... we will do what we want attitude
The article discusses growth .. but no mention of north county numbers.
What portion of that 21% growth is League City?

Rusty Schroeder

Exactly, time for League City residents to pay their fare share. All we hear about in this paper weekly are the new subdivisions and expansions League City is making, but yet not taxed when it comes to COM but students from LC are "in district". Household of NO's coming from this Santa Fe home.

Rusty Schroeder

Correction, not "in-district" . Still I want to see the $$$ breakdown, I can't believe it even comes close to taxation on a home vs. a small tuition bump. Plus these new League City homes and existing ones well exceed the example given of $120,000. Tax CCISD district or votes remain the same, NO, too long has COM saddled the same horse.

Paul Hyatt

Until the ENTIRE county is paying the burden of this upgrade then the answer has to be a resounding NO! Does the League City area use COM? Then they should be shouldering the tax burden else they should be made to pay more....

Alan Waters

I understand your concerns about bond money going outside the taxing district. NOT one penny of this money is targeted outside the taxing district.

George Croix

That sounds like the old this money is for vacation and that money is for groceries and that money over there is for car payments and so on, when the fact is ALL of the money is nothing but figures on a spreadsheet moved here and there from a total available.
Even if not one penney of a 162 million bond is targeted outside the tax district, that doesn't cover all the other monies from the routinely paid taxes and fees and tuitions that are targeted there that do not cover cover the full costs...they just, as stated in the other article comments, 'help the bottom line'.
If off main campus site facilities cost 50 bucks to build/rent/supply then unless non-tax district users PAY the entire 50 bucks themselves in fees and tuitions, then tax district people are subsidizing them....there's just no way to work around that. If the reason is that it's been that way for 50 years, then the answer is there's no statute of limitations on the wrong thing, and that should be rectified, by whatever means necessary, or, just hope that eventually you get the bond passed. Then, those of us complaining can be told to go pound said....pretty much like we have been told for years....
I doubt anybody would complain if not even the whole cost was paid, as long as the users had some of their own skin in the tax paying game, as the juco is a valuable thing to have.
But, that's just me....
It might help the enthusiasm level some if the facilities were not so much of a 13th or 14th grade of high school for so many who didn't learn anything in the public schools we're already paying for. I DO expect that to improve greatly now that we have a school district running the public schools that focuses on education and not on excuses.

Rusty Schroeder

Students are coming from outside the taxing district and their homes are not being taxed. That is the problem, that needs to be fixed, bottom line. Everyone in the taxing district is paying, with or without using COM. League City is not being taxed, yet their kids go to COM and pay a small out of district increase in tuition. That doesn't come anywhere close to if every home and business were taxed and included in the tax district. Does League City pay San Jac taxes ? It looks like COM is afraid to add League City to the taxing district and tax them accordingly, because they know all ____ will break loose then. NO.

David Floyd

"League City" cannot just be added to the taxing district. They have to vote to come in and it is by School District which is Clear Creek School District which covers League City, Webster, Kemah, Seabrook, El Lago, and parts of Houston. And certainly COM cannot just add someone without voter approval. When the COM district was organized back in the early 60"s I am pretty sure it was seen as too complicated to get CCISD into the district just as now. The out of district students who attend COM are just like the students from Dickinson, Texas City, Hitchcock or Santa Fe who choose to go to Alvin or San Jac. They pay a higher rate. And their homes are not being taxed either.

Rusty Schroeder

Is League City paying San Jac taxes?

George Croix

Apples and oranges.
Going to Alvin or San Jac camous for classes is not the same as Alvin or San Jac tax district paying for satellite facilities here locally - the kids have to actually make the trip to go to Alvin or San Jac.
I don't see why COM cannot do the same - require all students from outside the taxing district to come to the main campus.

George Croix

Camous?
Campus...
Close enough...

George Croix

Repeating:
Going to Alvin or San Jac camous for classes is not the same as Alvin or San Jac tax district paying for satellite facilities here locally - the kids have to actually make the trip to go to Alvin or San Jac.

I don't see why COM cannot do the same - require all students from outside the taxing district to come to the main campus.

Many hours later I still don't.
Why not At LEAST charge off site facility users enough to FULLY cover the costs of the services and the facility the rest of us are paying full price for, rather than just enough to 'help the bottom line".
There's not a reason in the world that can't be done. The nice folks in LC don't have to vote to agree to enter the COM tax district for that, and the result is pretty much the same - close enough.
Or, like OUR students who choose out of town facilities and drive there, LC studnets can drive here.
I know......go pound sand....
May have to, but really, really don't like being BS'd while asked for money.....

Paul Hyatt

Really? What about the building that is supported by COM (We The Taxpayer) and League City residents get to use it at the same price that is paid down here. They do not pay any taxes up there to COM so why should they get benefits from the ones who pay taxes. League City is a bunch of freeloaders and I say NO to the bond issue until they start paying their fair share....

Rusty Schroeder

Mud #43 NO , Mud #44 Yes. Wonder which is bigger ?

Rusty Schroeder

On COM taxes, neither pay San Jac taxes.

Rusty Schroeder

What does COM do for me, they don't have a community pool anymore for exercise or scuba training anymore. No classes on agriculture studies that I know of exist. I don't have children or grandchildren attending, nor will I. I would have at least thought a bond issue of this size would include a new pool for the community. Santa Fe wants a community pool very badly, this would justify new taxes in my opinion.

Paul Hyatt

Everyone who is complaining about COM (which I am one) need to remember to get out to vote this bond issue DOWN. COM still isn't listening to the taxpayers and until they do then they need to be told NO....

Rusty Schroeder

I will definitely cast my vote NO, as well as probably a sign off 1764 to encourage others to do the same. The COM taste left on taxpayers in the taxing district while League City gets cake and eats it too, will take a while to change hard feelings. Not to mention the "Closed Door" mentality that ran roughshod over taxpayer concerns for years.

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