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Austin Community College has a $770 million bond on the ballot this election. Here’s what’s in it.

Thursday, October 20, 2022 by Sangita Menon, KUT

Austin Community College could see an expansion of its workforce development programs and two new campuses if voters pass a $770 million bond proposition in the November election.

If voters approve ACC District Prop A, each of the 11 existing ACC campuses will get millions of dollars in program and facilities expansions. Two new campuses will also be created.

Chris Cervini, the vice chancellor of community and public affairs with ACC, said about 85 percent of the bond is workforce focused. That’s because the college has seen more demand from students and local employers like Samsung Semiconductor, Applied Materials and Tesla for training in areas like advanced manufacturing. Those courses include hands-on training on computer-aided design, electronics and production processes.

The bond would also increase infrastructure to train more students in critical areas like health care, information technology and skilled trades like welding and automotive technology.

To add facilities for skilled trades and advanced manufacturing, the bond allots $200 million for a new campus in Southeast Travis County and $175 million to expand existing facilities at the Highland and Round Rock campuses. The bond would also fund building a new campus in Southwest Austin at the Pinnacle site, which was closed in 2018. That campus would be geared toward general education classes.

“When we talk about workforce, it’s not just skilled trades and advanced manufacture,” Cervini said. “We have desperate need for increased health sciences and nursing instruction and more nurses in our community writ large.”

The bond allots $100 million to expand the professional nursing program at the Hays Campus. ACC District projects the investment will help double the number of nursing graduates the college produces.

Cervini said about $45 million, or about 5 percent of the bond, will be used to help students with wraparound services like on-campus child care, wellness clinics and classrooms equipped with the technology to allow students to connect remotely.

“This is an important investment,” he said. “Thinking about what’s happened through the pandemic over the past two and a half to three years, learning needs to be more responsive to the human needs of students.”

The election is Nov. 8. Early voting starts Oct. 24.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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