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Why West-MEC needs voters to approve bond offering

September 22, 2016
Phoenix Business Journal

Western Maricopa Education Center District has a $141 million bond election on the Nov. 8 ballot to allow for additional expansions in the West Valley.

Greg Donovan, superintendent of West-MEC, said some of that money will be used to finish construction of a $45 million campus that will break ground next month in Surprise. Phase I of the construction project will cost $11.9 million, with that money coming out of a $74.9 million bond election in 2012.

West-MEC operates four campuses in the West Valley, including its Central Campus in Glendale, which offers aviation, precision manufacturing, welding as well as law, public safety and security programs.

West-MEC operates four campuses in the West Valley, including its Central Campus in… more

"That's the last of that bond money," Donovan said. "We always promised to get started and get the first phase up and running."

The Surprise campus will offer five certification programs preparing students for careers in information technology security, law, public safety and security, medical assisting, physical therapy technician and cosmetology.

For a look at the types of programs offered at West-MEC's four other campuses, click on the school campus photo.

If the new bond doesn't pass in November, the Surprise campus will have five programs and 19.3 acres for future growth "when the community is ready for that growth," he said.

If it does pass, other programs will be added, he said.

The new bond money would also be used to finish building on West-MEC's Northeast Campus and give the district flexibility to buy land for future projects over the next 10 years.

He said West-MEC will tap into the bond money as needed.

"We believe we will grow and the community will want us to grow and have the authority to grow," he said. "Housing permits are up, building permits are up for commercial businesses. Over the next 10 years, we could find ourselves in a situation where it's time to look to have more facilities. We want that authority."

West-MEC is a joint technical education pubic school district that focuses solely on innovative career and technical education programs that prepare students to enter the workforce and pursue continuing education.

The district serves more than 29,000 students from 46 high schools across 3,600 square miles in the northern and western cities of the Phoenix metro area.

While its primary mission is to educate high-school students, West-MEC is beginning to offer programs to adults, who would pay tuition for the coursework.

"Why shouldn't we help all people in our communities to improve their own personal opportunities?" he said. "Why shouldn't we use these taxpayer facilities to their maximum potential? Taxpayers paid for it. Let's bring those taxpayers in here to give them opportunities to learn a new career, improve or change careers."

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