The Hancock College board of trustees will vote Tuesday on issuing up to $23 million in new Measure I bonds needed to complete the district's proposed Fine Arts Complex.

Approved by voters in 2006, the $180 million bond measure was proposed to upgrade existing and construct proposed facilities across Hancock College's three campuses. The new bonds will be sold to Morgan Stanley at a to-be negotiated purchase price and interest rate, according to a resolution in Tuesday's board agenda.

Though $24 million in state matching funds and a $10 million gift from a former piano instructor had already been earmarked to help cover the $48 million price tag, trustees required an additional $14 million to complete the project. Last June the board voted 4-1 to place Measure Y, a $75 million bond measure, on the November 2018 ballot.

Voters shot down the proposal, forcing college administrators to search for an alternative way to finance the project.

In January, Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers and Joanna Bowes, the district's financial adviser, said changes to the assessed value of property in the district's boundaries created additional capacity for bonds to be issued under Measure I. The district last tapped the bond measure in 2013, authorizing the issuance of $8.8 million in bonds.

Under California law, a community college district can only authorize $25 in bond money for every $100,000 of assessed property value. The district lost the capacity to issue $34.2 million in bonds after property values fell, but recent economic gains have brought back that capacity.

Walthers will also report to trustees about an opportunity to provide off-campus housing for students enrolled at the college. According to the agenda item, a developer building nine three-story apartments on the 400 block of East Mill Street has approached the college with a proposal to provide student housing for up to 70 students.

Though discussions are still in preliminary stages, the college could enter into a master agreement with the company to provide student housing. Each 1,440-square foot unit consists of a half-bathroom and kitchen on the first floor, three bedrooms and bathroom on the second, and a loft and full bathroom on the third.

Including utilities, rent would be approximately $600 per month. Depending on the details of the agreement, students could have a portion of their financial aid award directed to make their rental payments.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga


Education Reporter

Mathew Burciaga is a Santa Maria Times reporter who covers education, agriculture and public safety. Prior to joining the Times, Mathew ran a 114-year-old community newspaper in Wyoming. He owns more than 40 pairs of crazy socks from across the globe.