• Portion of $75 General Obligation Bond to Help Fund Emergency Repair Loans

    GRESHAM, Ore. – Mt. Hood Community College’s $75 million general obligation bond will help cover the costs of a new applied technology building and fund safety and security upgrades at the Gresham Campus and Maywood and Bruning centers. Additionally, about $23.2 million of the GO bond will allow the college to pay off loans acquired over the last 13 years and then reinvest that money into aging infrastructure.

    Each year, MHCC pays about $2.4 million – or just over three percent of its total budget – towards its $23.2 million in outstanding loans.

    In past years, the college has needed to make immediate repairs due to emergency situations. To pay for these repairs, the college acquired loans. This occurred in 2010, for example, when a leaking roof and dilapidated electrical system forced MHCC to close for the first week of spring term, said Jennifer DeMent, MHCC’s Chief Operating Officer. With water leaking into some academic areas and limited power throughout the Gresham Campus, the college procured emergency funds to upgrade its electrical infrastructure and replace some of the leakiest roofs. Since then, MHCC has prioritized roof repair and replaced many of the worst roofs; however, some remain still.

    In 2004, MHCC acquired funds to upgrade the library and to establish the Student Services Center. With these funds, MHCC remodeled the library, updating outdated building systems; adding emergency lighting; and building the study spaces, computer labs and offices on the top floor. The college also remodeled the Student Services Center, establishing a one-stop shop for student services and updating the Veteran Services office.

    Over the years, MHCC has also invested into energy efficiency technologies with a goal of reaping some savings over the life of the upgrades. In 2009 and 2013, the college made energy efficiency improvements to its HVAC, lighting, plumbing, insulation and irrigation. In 2013, MHCC added building control systems, allowing the college’s Facilities Department to better regulate heating and cooling to occupied areas only and save in yearly operational costs.

    The college has already begun achieving some operating cost savings from the energy efficiency upgrades. For example, after the 2009 upgrades were made, the college cut its annual electrical costs almost in half (from $1.5 million to $780,000), according to Charles George, director of facilities management at MHCC. However, utility costs have steadily increased since then.

    Despite these loans, the college has continually focused on being a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars. This has proved itself year after year, as the college maintains an Aa2 credit rating with Moody’s Services, the bond credit rating business; Aa2 is considered a very low credit risk due, in large part, to an organization’s strong fiscal management.

    With the $2.4 million in annual debt service funded by a bond, MHCC can instead invest these funds into capital improvements at the Gresham Campus and Maywood Center.