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Cuesta College passes a $275 million bond

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After almost a year of sustained anxiety, Cuesta’s administration can finally stop holding its collective breath: roughly 61.73 percent of the county’s voters decided to support Measure L, and Cuesta will be receiving $275 million.

As Cuesta’s elite were eagerly awaiting the poll results at a mini election night party in a suite at the Lexington Inn, there was a hint of fragility in the air. Sure, there were snacks and balloons, but there was a palpable sense that, either way the vote turned out, Cuesta was on the precipice of something massive. This one night could make or break the school.

Though he exuded his usual friendly demeanor, Cuesta President Gil Stork could feel the electricity of the moment better than anyone else in the room.

“You can’t help having the fluctuating feelings of excitement and panic,” Stork said. “I just hope that we were able to tell our story.”

The college president seemed afraid of jinxing himself as he spoke. He was already making plans for the next bond measure the school would have to try for if Measure L failed like the school’s $310 million 2006 measure did.

All of that tension immediately dissipated, though, as soon as the first precincts started reporting. Measure L had the support of around 61 percent of voters and—luckily for Cuesta—that number didn’t change much as the rest of the results rolled in.

The school already has plans for where those bond dollars will go first.

One of the main reasons the school decided to go out for a bond in the first place was that, due to a state education code, all of Cuesta’s portables will have to be decommissioned by September 2015. This code will displace more than 60,000 square feet of classrooms and offices.

With that in mind, the school will start by bringing in temporary housing for those classes and faculty offices while two new buildings—one on the SLO campus and one on the Paso campus—are being built. The school projects that the extensive regulatory processes for these buildings will be finalized and submitted within 30 to 45 days.

Cuesta is also working on laying out the specific plans of action for the school’s first major waves of building repairs and technology upgrades.

Cuesta will have a lot of plates spinning in the coming months, but now, for just a brief moment Stork and Cuesta can bask in the sweet warming rays of victory.

“To say I am thrilled with the passage of Measure L is an understatement,” Stork said.

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