SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
DATE OF MEETING: November 9, 2004
TIME OF MEETING: 5:30 P.M.
PLACE OF MEETING: Red Bluff Community/Senior Center
Councilmembers Present: Forrest Flynn, Mayor
Larry Stevens Mayor Pro Tem
Councilmembers Absent: Andy Houghton (absent-excused)
Staff Present: Susan Price, City Manager
Al Shamblin, Police Chief
Mike Damon, Fire Chief
Gary Antone, Director of Public Works/City Engineer
JD Ellison, Building Director/Official
Tessa Pritchard, Human Resources Director
Mayor Flynn called the Red Bluff City Council Meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
1. Update on the I-5 Technology Center from official representatives of the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District
This was a special Joint Meeting of the Red Bluff and Corning City Councils to hear the presentation on the I-5 Technology Center by official representatives of the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District, as any questions they may have and provide comments as appropriate.
Susan Price, City Manager, read the full text of the ballot measure that was presented to the voters on March 5, 2002. It stated “Shall Shasta College construct a University Center to host university level programs, expand it’s nursing, dental hygiene and health services programs; construct a health science center; new science and technology facilities; install energy upgrades; construct, renovate, equip science labs, classrooms and college facilities by Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District issuing 34 million dollars of bonds at legal rates, appointing a citizens oversight committee; performing annual audits and insuring that no money is used for salaries and other administrative expenses.”
Dr. Mary Retterer, District Superintendent/President of Shasta College, read the following statement into the record. “In 2002 the voters of Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District passed Measure A providing for 34 million dollars to construct among other things a Technology Center along Interstate 5 in Tehama County.” What she looked up from the full text for the ballot proposition on this particular piece was “acquire land and construct new Interstate 5 Technology Center to replace temporary leased facilities in Tehama County and to provide classrooms and labs for new curriculum in agriculture, telecommunications, transportation and other technical fields. In the list of bond projects approved by the board in July 2001 the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District, here forward called the “District” allocated a budget of 12 million to this project. Due to the nature of courses demanded in Tehama County by existing students and to further identify this educational site with the County it primarily serves the name change will be proposed to the Board of Trustees as the Tehama College Center. The master planning for this center includes projections of achieving full college status as enrollment grows bring increased funding and the ability to offer a greater array of courses and programs to the students of Tehama County. Upon completion of this new center the existing Red Bluff Center will no longer be operated in accordance with the bond measure. The District has examined many properties in Tehama County, some along Interstate 5 and some located away from the Interstate. Most were not suitable for a center that would grow into a college. Time is money and with today’s inflationary construction market the passage of time is costing the Tehama College Center a great deal of money and could render the project no feasible. Every step of the project from finding and negotiating and the acquisition of land, land use permitting, rezoning, general plan changes, environmental inspections, geological studies, California Environmental Quality Act, required impact studies, mitigation of shown environmental impacts, to possible litigation on environmental issues. They all take time that is measured in years. Only when the previous matters have been completed and resolved in the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District’s favor is the District justified in expending funds for design work on the buildings. This design phase consumes additional large blocks of time, further more the building design must be approved by the Department of State Architects, a process that can take 6 to 9 months. After all plans have been approved the District may then seek construction bids. Only if the bids come in within the budget available for the project may construction begin. The District recently received bids on another project, these bids came in at a cost over 400 dollars per square foot, forty-five percent above budget. Due largely to increases in the cost of building materials and the high demand locally and within the State for construction work. The District wants to spend the greatest portion of its available fund budget of 12 million for the Tehama College Center on the construction of educational facilities, not land or infrastructure. Raising costs may have already cut the size of the proposed facility by one half, even if bids were solicited today. Given the currently bidding market and the cost of construction materials the District estimates the cost of buildings for this project will be between $315 and $350 per square foot. Guidelines for criteria and selecting the location for the Tehama College Center. The general rule of thumb for locating new campus or center according to the office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges is 20 to 30 miles from an existing educational facility especially in rural areas. Since Butte College has an existing educational center in Orland, 12 miles south of Corning and 28 miles south of Red Bluff, the District is encouraged to try to find a location 20 to 30 miles north of Orland. All Community Colleges are part of the State system and the office of the Chancellor discourages startups close enough to other existing institutions to be duplicating programs or course offerings in the same market. The final location must be situated to serve the greatest number of Tehama County residents with higher education opportunities, while following the Tehama County Board of Supervisors directive attached as Appendix A, which adopted the Committee Report dated March 9, also attached as Appendix B, to refrain from consisting Williamson Act and to look north to Red Bluff. A quote from that attachment on page 2 stated that there is substantial information that suggests that the most significant growth area in the County will be from Red Bluff northward. Of the 1,125 students now attending Shasta College in Red Bluff, this was last spring, 919 live in Red Bluff or Shasta County. Would a site north of Red Bluff better fit these demographics and the criteria of the Site Selection Committee.” She also noted that percentage of population from the City of Red Bluff and Corning that are enrolled in Shasta College. A Center that will become a campus or college requires land to allow for future parking, green spaces, separation from neighboring activities and a build out that will accommodate a growing student population. The limited budget of the District of 12 million requires consideration of property that includes infrastructure, especially sewage treatment capabilities and water sufficient to meet fire flow requirements. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that in order to have the resources to build the Tehama College Center the District must have land it can afford and of sufficient size and infrastructure to accommodate the future growth required for increased State funding. California Community Colleges are funded through enrollment; therefore growth is essential to generate funding for staff, operations and maintenance of the center. The District will not be able to provide those funds from current operating revenues and the center must grow to be self-sufficient. This self-support is accomplished through State apportionment in a formula in which enrollment is the primary criteria. In short the number of students attending the Tehama College Center and the number of units taken when processed through a formula determine the level of State funding. This need for the Tehama College Center to obtain it’s own funding makes demographics a primary consideration in selecting the location of the center. It must be placed in a location that attracts the greatest number of possible students, as the enrollment grows the official status of the location within the State’s system will change from off-campus operation to educational center to college. This is important because the funding increases or changes with each step. The existing Red Bluff location has almost reached the Center mark, of approximately 1,500 students. Currently it services a student population of 1,195 this Fall Semester. This location is ready to begin the growth process to College, which serves about 3,000 students. There is an instructional site currently in Corning located within the high school. This location serves a total of 114 students at this time. Because of the success of the Red Bluff location the District has searched very hard for affordable property in and around Red Bluff, but with no success at this time. Once the new Tehama College Center is built and growing and the existing red Bluff Center is closed the District would be in the position to enhance the Corning site to serve a wider variety of student learning needs. The new campus needs to have acreage and location now to grow into College status. Acquiring that land in 10 tens will be even more costly to the District and the taxpayers. Consultations between their staff and the Tehama County Planning Officer and his staff and a review of the latest population studies for Tehama County indicate that the greater portion of the population of the County lives north of the southern edge of Red Bluff. Red Bluff and its immediate area have the greatest population concentration in the County. These figures do not take into consideration the anticipated increase that will result from the Del Webb project or from the Sunset Hills Project. There is a growth prediction in the Supervisors packet, which is attached. The District has investigated several properties and the District has researched the suitability of over 30 properties in Tehama County. Several were never brought forth to the Site Selection Committee because they were deemed to be too small or other wise unsuitable for a College campus or for any public education purpose by the District’s Real Estate Consultant or by District administration. The strongest possibility appeared to be at the location of Flores Road and Interstate 5. The property was later rejected by the Tehama County Board of Supervisors because of wetlands, an underground gas line and it’s currently status as land protected by the Williamson Act. At that time the Board of Supervisor’s report referenced demographics and suggested the College seek a location north of Red Bluff where the population growth for Tehama County is planned. This directive coincides with the Districts need to locate this campus as close as possible to the demographic center of the County and serve the largest number of students. In conclusion Del Webb has offered the District the donation of a 200-acre site with water and wastewater lines, electricity and roads to be brought to the edge of the offered property. This eliminates the need for major offsite infrastructure investment. This location would be 25 miles closer to Corning and Red Bluff than the existing Redding campus of Shasta College, saving 50 miles for each roundtrip. The District’s engineers and architects have reviewed the property for suitability and construction planning [A copy of a letter from 3DI, a national term of planning and building consultants attesting to the suitability for a community college was attached to the handouts provided to the City Councils]. Mike Maningan of 3DI who was in attendance to answer questions and give a breakdown his examination of the site.
Mike Maningan, 3DI, gave a brief breakdown of his examination of the site, the roadways of the development and stated that they felt the site was quite suitable and could create a very exciting environment.
Dr. Retterer stated that the District Board of Trustee has authorized her to enter into discussions with Del Webb and obtain additional information regarding their offer, but no decisions have been made as to its acceptance. The locating of the College Center for Tehama County must not be a battle over location or turf. It must be based on which location provides the best options for future options for residents.
Gregg O’Sullivan spoke on behalf of his client, the City of Corning and stated that they would like to know what the concept and the vision of the campus is from the economic development and business development standpoint. What measures have been taken to meet with business leaders, to discuss the curriculum, the target industries, the types of jobs that they are after for tomorrow; where that nexus between the College and economic development meet; To what extend has the College involved local, regional and state and federal economic development people in the facility. The question still remains “Is this Technology Center still the vision that passed the ballot measure”? The people of Tehama County see this as the next step to bringing real jobs, real wages to Tehama County.
Dr. Retterer stated that she was holding off have meeting with the business and economic leaders in Tehama County until a site selected. The vision now is that these occupational programs will be what are needed here; the transfer courses will be what are being requested by the student’s currently in this county and that this will grow to be it’s own college with the county’s name on it that it serves and with it’s own accreditation, still part of the district, but fully accredited and the diploma’s will say Tehama College. Until a decision has been made the College will continue to consider every piece of land.
Several people spoke regarding the location of the college, what was presented to the voters when this ballot measure was placed on the ballot, which was that the college would be centrally located and that it would be a technical college that would train people for jobs.
Ross Turner, Chairperson Tehama County Board of Supervisors and also a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for the appeal board to discuss the situation. The College Site Solicitation Committee went and considered the Ohm property on Flores and I-5 was and still is in the Williamson Act, which takes 10 years to get out of. There was property directly across the freeway on the north side of Flores, on the West side of I-5, that was not in the Williamson Act and was already zoned Commercial that was not considered. The selection committee, with the insistence of Dr. Treadway zeroed in on the Ohm property with blinders on. Why should the children of Tehama County have to exit Tehama County to better their education in Butte and stated that he was very offended by the commentary made about rudeness on the part of the ad hoc committee who met numerous times with representatives of the college and the development coordinator as the comment was very inaccurate and very offensive to the ad hoc committee members.
Councilmember Gregg Avilla stated that he was also on the site selection committee and that the vision had changed. This doesn’t even sound like the vision that the committee took to the voters of Tehama County and if this was how it were presented to the voters of Tehama County, chances are that the ballot measure would not have passed. The vision that everyone thought they heard from Dr. Treadway was that this would be a one of a kind technology center on I-5 between Canada and Mexico. If you’re changing the vision then let’s get the college built. The vision as presented now if not what it was presented to the voters to be.
Mayor Pro Tem Larry Stevens stated that the decision was not one that would be made by either of the City Councils, but his hope is that this facility will be able to offer the type of education that is needed in this community.
City of Corning Mayor Gary Strack stated that he hoped the College would be willing to work with Gregg O’Sullivan and look at other options available, one being grants that are available through Tri-County Economic Development.
Dr. Retterer stated that the vision of strong technical programs has not changed. One of the most exciting programs that they have been approached to bring to the Tehama College is Imaging (x-rays; radiology etc.) and others are Veterinary Technician and computers.
Mayor Flynn thanked Dr. Retterer and her associates for coming to this special meeting and listening to the concerns of those in attendance.
There being no further questions Mayor Flynn adjourned the meeting at 7:15 p.m. to November 16, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. in the Red Bluff City Council Chambers.
s/b Cheryl Smith
Deputy City Clerk