College of the Redwoods


Cal Poly Humboldt

College Matters | CR considers bond for future projects

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, March 21, 2024 - 1:00pm

When thinking about asking the public to support a General Obligation (GO) bond, it’s crucial to understand this important tool and why College of the Redwoods is considering using it. A GO bond is a form of municipal bond, typically repaid through property taxes. The college is exploring one now as a means to address critical infrastructure needs, aligning our facilities with the evolving demands of education, and sustaining the institution’s commitment to excellence.

We know that our community understands the benefit CR brings to the region. In a recent survey conducted by the consulting team hired to assess community support for a GO bond measure, we were gratified to see that the residents of our district expressed a remarkable 82% favorable to very favorable rating when asked how they feel about CR. Furthermore, 72% of residents reported that they or someone in their immediate family has taken coursework at CR. From these numbers, it is clear that our community knows that we are here for them and that they are happy with the work we are doing.

We also know that many of our older buildings have endured decades of wear and tear that need to be addressed, and we’re continually exploring opportunities to expand and improve our academic and job-training offerings to local students of all ages. Although we have continued to explore other funding alternatives, we have come to realize that a bond measure would be vital to helping the College bring our facilities and offerings up to speed with the demands and opportunities of today’s world.

Many of the potential construction projects that we identified as our priorities and could be funded through the GO bond were also high on the priority list of what residents are looking to support based on our initial survey. These include updating and expanding on-campus affordable student housing, funding allied health teaching facilities in Del Norte County, and providing additional funding for the CR/Cal Poly Humboldt health care education hub in Arcata.  The potential GO Bond could also help with securing supplemental funding for the Community Stadium upgrade.

Through the passage of Measure Q, also a GO bond, CR has been able to fund needed improvements throughout the district, but that was nearly two decades ago. I am happy to say that the Board of Trustees directed me to move forward with discussing a potential general obligation bond of $150 million with our community. This does not mean that we will necessarily pursue the bond, but that we will explore this option over the next several months while continually gauging the level of support from the community. A large amount of work would need to be completed to place a general obligation bond measure on the November 2024 ballot and we are going make a concentrated effort to actively seek input from community members to ensure that the plan aligns with their specific needs and concerns.

If the Board of Trustees decides to include a potential bond measure on the November ballot, we will be limited to providing purely neutral educational information. No tax dollars may be spent to campaign for a bond election. This commitment ensures that our advocacy efforts maintain integrity and are driven by a community-supported vision rather than institutional influence. But it also means we need your help. Collaborative efforts between the administration and the community will play a pivotal role in refining the plan for the proposed initiative and ensuring it is passed. We encourage each member of our community to actively support the measure and, equally importantly, to communicate that support to the wider community.

By sharing the significance of this bond, you become ambassadors for positive change, fostering a shared understanding of the vital role it plays in enhancing our college’s infrastructure and, consequently, the overall educational experience

We are very proud and fortunate that College of the Redwoods and the community share a strong bond. It is evident that our residents value the education and opportunities we provide. Together, we can make a resounding statement about the strength and unity of the College of the Redwoods community.

Thank you for your support and dedication to the bright future that awaits our institution.

Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.