Clatsop Community College will need some multimillion-dollar donations in order to match $8 million worth of state bonds by 2021 to improve the Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station, its consultant told the college board Tuesday.
The training station, built at South Tongue Point in the 1990s on property leased from the Department of State Lands, serves as the college’s main campus for career-technical programs such as maritime science, automotive, welding and historic preservation.
The state recently awarded the college $8 million to improve the campus. But the bonds require an equal match by 2021 and the college to have ownership or a 99-year lease of the property.
The college is having the land appraised before buying it with money from its plant fund, used for construction, renovation, and acquisition of property. The college board recently authorized spending up to $150,000 over three years for a consultant on a capital campaign to raise the $8 million match.
“We’ll probably need a $2.5 million gift from someone,” said Catherine Crooker, the college’s consultant.
The first year and a half of the campaign would focus on those big donors before boosters approach the general public, she said. This summer, she will begin gauging their interest before bringing a recommendation to the college board on whether to continue with a capital campaign.
“If in the feasibility study I find the money is not there, I will tell you,” she said.
College President Christopher Breitmeyer said its programs send graduates around the country, widening the fundraising net. The project has more corporate philanthropic potential than a lot of other projects she works on, Crooker said.
Still, the college faces a tight deadline, she said, and the next few months will answer whether the money is available for a successful capital campaign. Crooker will come back in the fall with a recommendation of whether to move forward.
The college had originally proposed using the bonds to add a second story onto the administrative and maritime science building. But it has since hired an architectural consultant to create a master plan for the property to inform a project. The plan will be presented this summer.
While the college is preparing to buy its campus from the state, Columbia Land Trust is gathering grants to buy 90 acres to the south, have it restored to quality fish and wildlife habitat and hand it over to the college as a living laboratory. The trust recently received a $332,000 state grant to match a $920,000 federal grant it is waiting on from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fund the purchase.
The college board on Tuesday passed a $12.7 million operating budget for the coming fiscal year, up more than $1 million from the previous year. The budget took into account an additional $450,000 in estimated state timber tax revenue the college expects beyond what it uses to pay down debt, along with a $3 per-credit tuition increase expected to raise about $75,000 in revenue.
The college is spending more on counseling and maintenance staff, hiring a new full-time welding instructor and establishing a professional development fund for support staff, along with pay increases recently awarded to all employees.
The college board on Tuesday approved spending more than $800,000 out of the plant fund on campus management software. An agreement the college had with Rogue Community College will expire next year.
The college foundation’s auction in April raised $126,000, said Board Member Robert Duehmig, and the college’s historic preservation and restoration program received an $18,000 donation from the Lower Columbia Preservation Society to help build a new shop on campus.