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Heading to Salem today to talk about education center at Cascade
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
So this is how it’s going to be from now until the final gavel.
The director of the Oregon Community College Association called me at 10:45 a.m. today to inform me that a hearing on our capital construction project is set for 4:30 p.m. today. And that we’ll get a total of three minutes for all 17 community colleges.
OK. Not ideal, but I’ll hop in the Mini Cooper right after lunch and tool down to Salem, to be in the room in case any of the lawmakers have questions.
This is common during the final few weeks of every legislative term. That I got more than five hours warning makes me one of the lucky ones. Committees can and do meet now with only one hour notice.
Our project, by the way, is the Center for Careers in Education on the Cascade Campus. We’re hoping to get $7.5 million in matching grant money from the state to build a facility that will help us:
‘ Train teachers and instructional assistants.
‘ House the popular Portland Teachers Program.
‘ Add a childcare learning lab, while providing high-quality child care for PCC students who are parents.
‘ Create a place for thousands of teachers to get the retraining and certification they need to stay in the classroom.
It also would provide more general classrooms and labs, for which we are in desperate need at Cascade.
And I did say it’s a “matching” grant. Thanks to the successful bond measure in November, we have our matching money in hand. Hopefully, that will help lawmakers realize this would be a good investment.
The last time we asked for capital construction money was in 2007. We got $7.5 million for the Willow Creek project, under construction in Washington County. It’s important to remember that these capital construction programs are really economic stimulus packages in disguise. Because of the state grant for the Willow Creek project, there are many, many boots on the ground, today, making union salaries and building that facility.
I’ll loop back to this after today’s hearing. Wish us luck.