The Delaware Area Career Center is currently at the beginning stages of a facilities project that will combine two small campuses into one medium-sized campus to allow for better operational efficiencies and the savings of taxpayer dollars. Many have asked how the center’s upcoming renewal levy in November and the facilities project are related.
The levy renewal is not related to the building project. We have budgeted to pay for this project out of the general and permanent improvement funds. The 10-year levy renewal will still be required in order to continue offering a valuable shared service among all of the Delaware County school districts even if DACC were not combining campuses.
The levy that is up for renewal in November 2015 has not increased since 2001. However, the enrollment at DACC, along with inflation, has continued to climb. The district continues to find ways to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars, which includes reducing costs on transportation, utility and maintenance expenses by combining campuses.
In addition, local school districts will save an average of $50,000 per year per school district on their own transportation costs. This consolidation project is just one way that we are able to continuously improve our services to the Delaware County community without increasing tax levy dollars.
Additional questions we have received about the consolidation project have to do with how DACC will continue to serve the community’s needs. As part of the planning process, we worked with both internal and external focus groups to determine what would best benefit our students, their families and our community members.
The external focus group stressed the importance of having one building that is both visible and accessible for community meetings and events. Since the south campus on U.S. 23 is much closer to the center of Delaware County than the north campus, the external focus group saw value in consolidating to the south campus in order to maintain and even elevate the services we can offer the community.
During our most recent Facebook Q&A about the project, a community member asked us how the consolidation project will improve opportunities to develop manufacturing and trades career opportunities. As we look at designing new spaces, we will have the opportunity to take input from business and industry about how updated lab spaces can prepare our students for in-demand careers. All of our career tech instructors meet with respective business and industry partners through their advisory committee. The committee members work with our instructors to talk about industry standards and best practices.
We are fortunate that local businesses take such an interest in our students and their success that they are willing to offer their professional advice and knowledge.
In addition, during the construction manager at-risk interviews, all of the companies are interested in incorporating students and their skills in the building process. I cannot think of a better way for our students to gain authentic experiences, and leave a legacy of what they have learned, than through this project. The experience will also serve to help our students make professional contacts and build their resumes.
If you have questions or concerns, request to have an administrator speak at your next meeting. This is a great way to get all of your questions answered as they pertain to you or your organization.
We are also hosting two more community forums – one in person and one online. Please plan to join us on one of the dates below:
• Aug. 25, 6 p.m. – north campus auditorium.
• Aug. 31, 10 a.m. – Facebook Q&A at www.Facebook.com/DelawareAreaCC.
To contact the Delaware Area Career Center with questions, we welcome your call! Contact us at (740) 548-0708.
Mary Beth Freeman is superintendent of the Delaware Area Career Center.