OC receives state monies

Olympic College stands to be a big winner once the state legislature gives its final approval to the state capital budget some time next week.

In the version of the budget that was approved by the House capital budget committee on Wednesday, the college will receive about $3.5 million for the design of a new humanities and student services building and $600,000 for renovations to the Bremer Student Center and campus bookstore.

The new building will include a four-story parking garage to address the increasing parking needs of the Bremerton campus.

“There is finally forward movement in how we take care of what we know is going to be critical space needs,” said state Rep. Pat Lantz (D-Gig Harbor).

Funding for community college projects is done in a methodical way from a list generated by the association of community colleges and this funding is a definite indication that the problem is being addressed, Lantz said.

“I can equivocally say this is the best year for K-12 education and higher education in recent history,” said Lantz, who has served five terms on the House capital budget committee.

Lantz said she has no doubt that the funding will remain in the final version of the budget once it is approved by both houses.

“There are so very differences between the House and the Senate that I have no doubt the funding will be there,” Lantz said.

Olympic College President David Mitchell said the funding moves the proposed $43 million building into a two-year design phase.

“It is absolutely critical to the college and this is a big project that will mean a lot to the college and help revitalize it,” Mitchell said.

Once the design work is completed, Mitchell said he anticipates construction funding to be provided in the 2007-2009 biennium capital budget.

“Normally when they pay for the design, they provide the funding for the construction in the next biennium,” he said.

The funding for the Bremer Student Center will allow the college to create a new entrance to the center and remodel the bookstore to make it more accessible to students, he said.

“We did very well in the capital budget and we had great support from our local legislators,” Mitchell said.

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