WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

DECISION 2012: Western Tech 80 Million Referendum Passes

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email
Western Technical College Diesel and Heavy Equipment Instructor

Western Technical College Diesel and Heavy Equipment Instructor

LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)- Voters in 11 counties said ‘yes’ to Western Technical College’s 80 million dollar referendum.

The final results show the referendum passed, 54 to 46 percent. Now that the referendum has passed, the campus is going to be getting a whole new makeover.

“We’ve had Nov. 6th on our calendars for almost a year and now that it has come and passed. It’s exciting, it’s really exciting,” said Western Tech Industrial Dean Bill Brendel.

It wasn’t until 3 o’clock Wednesday morning that college President Lee Rasch believed enough votes had come in to determine the win.
“We were really gratified by the community support we received,” said Rasch.

They plan on tearing down the old hotel building on the corner of Vine and 7th, adding onto the Applied Technologies Center, and turning the Coleman Center into a parking lot. A new diesel expansion center will be built on the north side, and a new landscape and agriculture center will be added to campus.

“6 facilities are going to be redone. The bidding and start of construction could begin next spring,” said Rasch.

While it was a close race, political expert Keith Knutson believes it passed not due to better economic times, but a change in values.

“In tough economic times citizens are not intended to pass a referendum vote. We are coming up to speed to invest in our own education,” said Knutson.

With the new education expansion they hope to add an additional 1,000 kids to the campus by the year 2020. Every student added is a benefit to the State since studies show 80 percent of graduates from Western Technical College stay within the region.

It’s expected that a person with a $100 thousand dollar home will pay $39 dollars a year in taxes towards the referendum.


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