College Wants To Own Its Buildings

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Gila Community College board members will likely discuss taking ownership of the college’s buildings during a meeting Friday morning, officials said last week.

The proposal comes at a pivotal time for GCC as it works to gain full accreditation and funding equal to other community colleges.

Taking ownership of buildings from the county would provide more legitimacy in the college’s quest to gain full accreditation and seek “brick and mortar funding” for new buildings, officials said. They also briefly mentioned plans to request economic stimulus funds for three new buildings, and continuing efforts in finding money for a renewable energy program.

GCC officials said previously they cannot afford to pay the roughly $100,000 it would cost for building insurance, but Senior Dean Stephen Cullen declined last week to discuss the proposal’s monetary implications.

The structures are owned free and clear.

The county, which owns the buildings, can essentially insure them for free, county manager Steven Besich said previously. Since it participates in an insurance pool, the buildings don’t add enough risk to affect the premium.

Supervisor Tommie Martin said previously that the county would be willing to sign the buildings over to GCC.

During last week’s meeting, college officials also said they have developed an economic stimulus proposal for two new buildings on Payson’s campus — a nursing facility and lecture hall — along with a lecture classroom on Globe’s campus.

Gila County does not meet population or property valuation thresholds set by the state to operate its own community college, and so it runs under the auspices of Eastern Arizona College.

Advocates are working to gain independence.

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