On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Durham voters will have the opportunity to decide on a proposal to provide Durham Technical Community College with $20 million to expand classroom and lab facilities on the main campus.  This initiative, one of four separate bond issues to appear on the November ballot, was approved by the Durham County Board of County Commissioners following a public hearing held Monday, August 8, 2016.

If passed, the bond funds would support a number of initiatives at Durham Tech in the implementation of Phase I of its long-range campus master plan. First, the college would double the size of the George W. Newton Industrial and Engineering Technologies Center. This expansion would allow for the modernization of the computer-aided machining, electrical and electronics, and electronics engineering technology programs, enable the growth and consolidation of several construction trades and industrial systems programs, and provide for the addition of new programs for diesel mechanics and hybrid automotive technicians. The owners of a home valued at $200,000 could expect to see an increase in their property taxes of about $6.00 per year if this portion of the bond issue passes. If all four portions of the bond pass (Durham Tech plus Durham Public Schools, Durham County Library, and Museum of Life and Science) the impact will be $50 per year for a home value of $200,000.

Durham currently has more than 30,000 jobs in industrial and manufacturing settings, and several thousand more in residential and commercial construction. Durham Tech’s career and technical graduates meet this demand. The expansion and modernization of Durham Tech’s programs will allow the college to more effectively prepare skilled workers for careers in some of our community’s most important industries.

Increasingly, community colleges are recognized for their invaluable contributions to the economic vitality of our region, our state, and the nation.  As Bank of America founder Hugh McColl recently pointed out, “Community colleges serve as a tremendous adjunct to the university system, because they allow working people to get an education that they otherwise might not get . . . We need to continue to fund that part of our education system, because it reaches and touches more of our people than even the university system does.” And in their August 10, 2016 edition, the News and Observer Editorial Board said Durham Tech bond funds will address “a . . . serious need at a time when the state’s community colleges are more important than ever.”

Next month, Durham Tech enters its 55th year of service to the residents of Durham and Orange counties. Durham Tech’s first and most important goal is providing every opportunity for all students to succeed.  We strive for this goal by providing high quality, accessible, affordable, and relevant education and training programs—programs offered in state-of-the-art facilities using today’s technology and current best practices for teaching and learning. The upcoming bond issue provides an opportunity for Durham’s voters to decide whether they think an investment in Durham Tech is an investment worth making.

To Read More About the other three bond recipients: Durham Public Schools, The Museum of Life and Science and Durham County Library CLICK HERE