Voters pass CVTC referendum, President Barker looks forward to campus updates

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 10:10 PM CDT
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Communications Specialist at CVTC, Mark Gunderman, says the referendum passed with 45,783 yes votes and 27,807 no votes.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)--Residents in 11 counties in western Wisconsin have voted to pass a $48.8 million referendum for Chippewa Valley Technical College in the Wisconsin Spring primary.

"It's not just an investment in the college, but it really is an investment in our local community," says CVTC President Bruce Barker.

With 99% of precincts reporting on Monday night, 62% of voters voted "yes" to pass CVTC's second ever referendum. The first was back in 1997.

The referendum will lead to several projects and updates at CVTC including a new Transportation Education Center, the addition and remodeling of the Emergency Services Education Center, additions to the Manufacturing Education Center and several projects at the campuses in Menomonie, Chippewa Falls and River Falls.

According to the referendum, about $29.8 million will go to fund the Transportation Education Center, something Barker says will give CVTC an advantage in the transportation industry.

"I think it really does show that we're starting a new era of electric vehicles and compressed natural gas vehicles and smart vehicles," Barker says. "The vehicles that we have today are not going to be the vehicles that we're going to be using five and 10 years from now so this really positions the college and our community to be ready for that huge technological change."

Barker says he was glad to see the community was so supportive of this referendum.

"When you think about all the important things in life, our housing, our health care, or transportation, how our education, the food we eat, the stores, our whole retail world, are all very dependent upon our CVTC grads and that's really what keeps our vibrant communities working," Barker says.

Taxpayers can expect to see a property tax increase of about $13 per $100,000 of property value.

Barker says most of the construction is planned for the spring and summer of next year, but specific plans are up in the air because of interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.