Voters to decide fate of Wake Tech's $200M bond request

Posted October 23, 2012 5:44 p.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2012 6:27 p.m. EDT

— This November, Wake County voters will have a say on a $200-million bond for Wake Technical Community College, the largest bond the school has ever requested.

If passed, it will allow the school to expand its north campus, where 8,000 students are now jammed into four classroom buildings. It would also pay to finish the public safety campus in Garner and provide funding to start work on a new campus in RTP and renovation money for the main campus.

The bond won't require a tax increase in Wake County. It has bipartisan support and no organized opposition. Wake Tech student Kristen Rahl says she hopes voters will say yes.

“I would say they should. I know tons of people who come here, not just my age, but people coming back to college. They need options. They need resources,” she said.

Rahl is in a two-year pre-engineering program and plans to transfer to North Carolina State University next year. It isn't the school's most popular program, but classes are still limited.

“I have friends who have been here for years trying to get out, and they just can't get the classes. They don't have the options,” she said.

The problem is only getting worse, according to school officials, who say enrollment is expected to grow 50 percent by 2017.

It's already the state's biggest community college, and President Steve Scott says the growing county is taking advantage of it.

“One out of every 8 adults aged 18 to 65 was enrolled at Wake Tech last year. (That’s) 66,000 people,” Scott said.

Wake County voters will find the bond measure on the back of their two-page ballot. The last time a bond was approved for Wake Tech was in 2007.