Community College Spending $1 Million on Upscale Office for College President

A community college in the San Diego area is building a $1 million office suite for the college president as part of a project that is approximately $18 million over budget.

When state architecture officials approved plans in December 2014 for a new library at Palomar College, the estimated cost was $49 million. The money comes from a $694 million bond approved by voters in 2006.

The total amount spent on the building is $67.3 million, including the cost of the presidential suite that was added to the project roughly one year ago. Drawings show the area for 2,232-square-foot office suite originally was designed to be a reading study room and a meeting room.

A story published by inewsource noted that while the school was preparing for today’s grand opening of the library, “crews already had begun demolishing part of the building’s top floor to build President Joi Lin Blake an office suite.”

“A few professors have objected for months to spending taxpayer funds on the project when Blake has been talking about budget problems at the district, which serves about 30,000 full- and part-time students,” inewsource reported. “Two college district board members also opposed approving the suite’s construction contract in December, saying they weren’t given enough details about the project.”

One board member asked if the money could have been used to build new classrooms or equip science labs, instead of building a presidential suite.

David Kline, CalTax Vice President of Communications and Research, questioned spending tax dollars from a bond measure on a remodel that wasn’t in the plan voters approved.

“When you start changing things after the fact or adding offices for the executives instead of more classrooms for the students, that creates a problem,” Kline told inewsource. “It is a classic bait-and-switch kind of approach.” (Source: inewsource, February 21.)

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