A week after inewsource reported that Palomar College is spending $1 million to remodel its new $67 million library to build a top-floor presidential suite, the group that oversees the school’s bond spending will meet to reconsider the project.
Why this matters
When voters are asked to approve school bond measures, elected officials generally give assurances the tax money will be spent wisely to benefit students. Independent bond oversight committees also are supposed to be a watchdog.
Committee member Michael Hunsaker asked for the topic to be on the oversight group’s Friday agenda, saying the office should be re-evaluated because there may be “more economical” options. Committee members have told inewsource they first learned of the presidential suite remodel last year.
At the library’s grand opening this past Friday, President Joi Lin Blake told inewsource the reporting on her new office suite was “inconsequential.”
“The focal point (of the new library) is the students. It has nothing to do with me (or) my office,” Blake said.
Construction of Blake’s suite began in late January and is expected to be completed this summer. It will include her office, space for two staffers, and a conference room, restroom, work/break room and waiting area.
Hunsaker, a retired engineer and San Marcos resident, said the current plans for the president’s office need to be looked at again to see if cheaper options are available.
“There should be a number of different locations and different buildings that could be modified,” he said, including the $46 million Humanities Building that opened in 2014.
Money for the new library and presidential suite remodel came from Proposition M, a $694 million bond measure voters passed in 2006. The Palomar College district’s bond oversight committee meets four times a year and is responsible for making sure those funds are spent according to the ballot measure presented to voters.
Oversight committee members told inewsource they had previously been briefed on the presidential suite remodel, but construction contracts and purchase orders on bond-funded projects do not go to the committee for approval.
Instead, an overview of ongoing projects are presented to the panel when it meets, and members can ask questions and make recommendations to district officials.
Bond oversight committee meets Friday
We’ll let you know when big things happen.