SIERRA VISTA - The Cochise College governing board met Friday to discuss the school's short- and long-term future, in light of the defeat of the bond issue in November's election.
Nicodemus, accompanied by senior administrators from the college, said an analysis of the county precincts showed that "where the majority of the people live, is where we had the least support."
She said she does not think going back to the voters in the foreseeable future would change the results.
"Our biggest issue is still inadequate and substandard facilities," Nicodemus said, "and the goal is still to make investments in an accessible, affordable education across the district."
Held in the Jenney Room of the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, the session was designed to give board members a preliminary idea of some action items they may be voting on at the regular meeting in February.
Calling the range of topics a "modified" facilities plan, Nicodemus said the college must find ways to make the institution competitive in the marketplace of education. In addition to improving classroom buildings and residence halls that are "inadequate and substandard," other priorities the administration hopes the board will consider are learning environments that support today's - and future - technology, as well as a growing enrollment.
Over the course of the two-hour session, Terry Bowmaster, districtwide planner for the facilities plan, told the board that revenue bonds, partnerships with private industry, state funds from the primary property tax, and some of the college's more than $10 million in reserves, will permit improvements - more in the line of renovation, but little new construction. "We should start with safety," he said, "and look at heating, cooling and electrical."
The school administration will be asking the board to approve architectural and engineering expertise for a modified plan that would inform the board what can be done near-term with available resources. "We'll be taking a functional, minimalist, utilitarian perspective," Nicodemus said .
Subjects receiving the most attention included the 40-year-old residence halls on the Douglas campus that have been responsible for students choosing to attend school elsewhere, and the Willcox Center, consisting of several 20-year-old portable buildings sitting on land owned by the Willcox Public School District.
Nicodemus and Bowmaster told the board they are in discussions with Willcox school administrators to identify logical - and legal - options for upgrading the facilities. The college is prohibited from building structures on land it doesn't own.
An additional major topic was the potential to lease adequate and properly equipped space in Sierra Vista and Douglas for career and technical programs.
"It's premature for specific dollar projections," Nicodemus said, "and we don't want to compromise the college financially either by compiling debt or spending down the reserves."
Board member David DiPeso wondered aloud how much the school could comfortably borrow and under what conditions. The administration told him answers would be forthcoming.