$22,000,000.00 Building Boondoggle

A few years back, Clatsop Community College received an 8 million dollar grant from the state to fix the leaking Maritime Building located at the MERTS Campus by putting a second story over the existing building but needed to raise matching funds dollar for dollar. A firm hired by CCC determined that 4-6 million dollars could be raised through private donations. With the state matching 6 million dollars that would put the total funds available for the project at 12 million dollars. CCC is also considering hiring a fundraiser who charges a 50% commission on funds raised.

The architectural Firm hired by CCC submitted a design for a $22,000,000.00 building that had none of the exterior design aspects the MERTS design committee discussed, or the cost cap that was discussed. The Board decided to move ahead with the design anyways.

$22,000,000 is enough to pay tuition at current enrollment levels for every CCC student for FORTY YEARS.

Note: The actual construction cost of the building is currently estimated at $9.5 million. $5 million of the remainder is for seismic work (the site should not be built on), and $2,600,000.00 – so far – is architect’s fees – 27% of construction cost. Standard architect’s fees for public buildings range from 4.5% to 7%. Most states limit architect’s fees on public buildings by statute.

The list of deficiencies and waste are too long to list here, but the building would have had leaking issues and would stand out like a sore thumb at the MERTS Campus. If this building is built as designed, the costs would be detrimental the Maritime Program at MERTS and CCC.

There are far better and far less expensive options to add capacity to CCC.

From the College Budget Advisory Committee:

The faculty representatives on the College Budget Advisory Committee this year and last year want to express their dismay that the Clatsop Community College budget for next year includes 21.5 million dollars for a maritime science building that has been adopted by the budget committee.

The Budget Advisory Committee NEVER had an open discussion regarding the maritime science building. During winter term of 2019, a PowerPoint presentation was given of the project to the committee, but no business plan was provided. This presentation was met with stunned silence. There was no discussion afterwards; it was presented as matter of fact. The committee did not vote to approve the increased spending. The project was not listed on the wish list of wanted budget items for the committee to consider. A request was made for the business plan, but only the College Foundation’s fundraiser pamphlet was provided.

Again, this year, there was zero discussion about the building project! It was not voted on by the committee members nor put on the list of requested items for budget increases. There is still no business plan for the project that has been provided to the committee. We have not been told how many new maritime science students CCC will need to recruit or how much these students will need to pay in fees in order to break even on the necessary loan amount.

Moving forward, we hope that the Vice President of Finance and Operations, who is the chair of the Budget Advisory Committee, will bring the maritime science building project to the committee with a data driven business plan and allow the members to evaluate the worth of the project along with the other possibilities for using College funds.

Signed: Budget Advisory Committee Faculty Representatives.