Upgrade for law enforcement space a priority

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By Solomon White

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

With sights set on constructing a new law enforcement training facility, the college administration has taken the first steps of drawing up a space-programming document, which identifies the space needed in a new building.

Every other Wednesday, John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities, meets with President Robert Zeigler and the college executive team for a “construction meeting” to talk about major construction projects.

The next meeting will be Wednesday to continue discussing the construction of a new law enforcement building.

“A lot of the projects take a long time. It may be three or four years by the time the project may be complete,” Strybos said.

The prospect of constructing a new law enforcement building has been on the table for several weeks.

Two main factors holding construction of a new building have been funding and location.

“The challenge is, should we put a lot of money into an upgrade of the existing law enforcement training center, or would it be better use of our limited budgets to build a new building at the site where they have the firing range?” Strybos said.

The First Responders Academy is at 15775 IH 35 in Von Ormy, about 18 miles south of this college.

There is no estimated time of completion for this project.

First, construction documents from an architect must be submitted along with a building permit before any plans can be made for a new building, Strybos said.

The college has a variety of possible funding sources.

A general obligation bond requires an election by voters and possibly an increase in property tax to pay the debt service, he said.

Revenue bonds were recently used to finance a parking garage at Northwest Vista College.

“We just issued those revenue bonds about a year ago, so I don’t think we’ll be issuing anymore anytime soon,” Strybos said.

Revenue bonds to fund a new building do not require approval by the voters.

Another avenue of funding is a maintenance task note.

These only require the approval of the Alamo Colleges board of trustees.

“Maintenance task notes are only used for renovation; they cannot be used for new construction,” Strybos said. “If funding becomes a big enough challenge, one way to fund it would be to renovate it rather than build a new building.”

The establishment of a new law enforcement building will remain on the administration’s agenda until a specific funding source can be decided.

When this college built its parking garage with funds from the 2005 $450 million bond issue, ideas for including space for law enforcement and the police station were considered.

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