The Santa Fe, N.M., Community College Governing Board on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to hold a joint election with Santa Fe Public Schools, in which voters will be asked to renew a combined $95 million worth of bonds for campus improvements.

The school board voted earlier this month in favor of a similar measure, with goals of increasing voter turnout and saving thousands of dollars in taxpayer money by holding one election in February rather than two.

Downtown Santa Fe
Downtown Santa Fe Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons

While the school district is asking voters to approve a six-year, 2-mill property tax levy to raise an estimated $72 million for campus maintenance projects, the community college’s $24 million bond request calls for a 0.35-mill levy over four years.

One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, which is one-third of a property’s market value. A homeowner with property valued at $300,000 would pay $35 a year for the community college’s bond and $200 for the school district’s.

The college would use the money for an array of capital projects. For example, $14 million is earmarked for a new 34,000-square-foot, two-story automotive building and improvements to greenhouse technology classrooms. Another $5 million would go toward campuswide improvements to roads, sidewalks, parking lots, roofs and flooring.

The fitness center would receive $2 million for pool repairs and UV light filter replacements, while another $1 million would go toward classroom improvements in the fashion design and arts and media departments, the metal fabrication lab, and the film and video lab. The final $2 million would be used for technological upgrades.

The college last held a bond vote in 2010. At that time, voters approved $35 million for the college to build its Higher Education Center on Siringo Road, and to fund campus repairs and improvements.

Public school and college leaders will work with the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office to choose polling sites for the Feb. 6 election.

Wednesday’s governing board meeting was the last one for SFCC President Randy Grissom, who is retiring Oct. 31. Grissom, 68, has worked more than 22 of the last 34 years in various positions at the college, taking on his first job as as business teacher when the school opened in 1983. The board honored him Wednesday with a resolution acknowledging his service.

The governing board then voted 5-0 to approve a one-year contract for interim President Cecilia Cervantes, 68, who will succeed Grissom at an annual salary of $190,000. She will start working at the college Nov. 8.

Cervantes is an El Paso native who began her career in 1980 at the Community College of Denver, where she has held several positions, including dean of continuing education. She since has worked at a number of colleges, including in New Mexico.

She served as vice president of academic affairs at Western New Mexico University in Silver City from 1992-94 and as associate campus director at Doña Ana Community College in Las Cruces from 1994-98.

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