AUSTIN (KXAN) — Voters approved a $770 million bond for the Austin Community College District, according to KXAN projections. The bond is the largest in its history.
College leaders plan to use the bond — worth more than three-quarters of a billion dollars — to fund new construction, upgrade existing campuses and expand services offered to students. It would also allow ACC to create more training programs for in-demand jobs, like in health care and advanced manufacturing.
This is only the third bond election ever called by the college. The last one included $385 million in bonds and passed in 2014.
The bond passed with 358,149 votes or 69.81%. A total of 154,859 people (30.19%) voted against the bond.
ACC board members said the college would be able to issue these latest bonds without raising its tax rate. However, since property values are expected to rise in the area, that would still mean an increase for taxpayers. The college’s own estimates show leaders believe someone with a home worth $500,000 would pay up to $5 per year over the first five years, maxing out at $25 per year for the remainder of the bond.
The biggest portion of the bond ($200 million) would pay for the construction of a new campus in southeast Travis County. According to the bond proposal’s projects website, this center would focus on advanced manufacturing and skilled trades, like welding, as well as building construction technology.
Additionally, ACC plans to funnel $100 million apiece to fund projects at a couple of its campuses. For instance, at the Hays location, that would help pay for a “significant expansion” in its health services program, particularly in professional nursing. Meanwhile, the college intends to expand its advanced manufacturing program and create space for a “new Entrepreneurship Institute and Cyber Security Program” at the Highland campus in north Austin.