TEMPLE, TX — Located right off of Loop 363 in Temple sits Temple College, home to nearly 5,000 students, otherwise known as Temple College Leopards.
“It’s a great corridor for community members to know that this, this is their community college,” said Dr. Christy Ponce, the college’s president. “We're here for them and to train them for the future.”
While she’s proud of the campus, Dr. Ponce explained how many parts of it are outdated. Multiple classrooms are overflowing with students, especially for those interested in the nursing program.
Dr. Ponce says many nursing students have had to transfer to temporary spaces while the college explores expansion options.
”Many of our programs are at capacity… we're trying to address the shortage in health care workers, and so we've taken that commitment seriously,” she said. “These phases will be highly needed by our students to learn.”
The Temple College Board of Trustees is asking voters to consider an almost $125 million bond issue during the upcoming May 1 election.
It’s the largest amount of money the college has ever asked the community for in its nearly 100 years of operation. In fact, college officials have asked for four bonds totaling $33 million over the past few decades.
But what does that large chunk of cash mean for Temple residents?
Well, an approximate $3.63 monthly tax increase per $100,000 of appraised value. If you’re over 65 and have filed for the appropriate homestead exemption, then you won’t be charged anything additional. State laws freeze existing property tax rates for those individuals.
“Temple College has been an asset to the city of Temple for a long time,” Mayor Tim Davis said. “They have paid their own way for a long time without asking for a lot of tax dollars.”
Mayor Davis acknowledged that this is the largest sum of money the college has asked for, but he believes it’ll be put to good use.
He says Temple College has a vital role in educating Temple’s younger students, especially in fields that the city excels in, like health care.
“This is a big bond package, but at the same time, I think it's going to be money well spent,” he said.
Dr. Ponce says it was moderately difficult to choose what parts of campus to focus on first, but explains there were clear priorities when thinking about expansion.
For starters, the college plans to add onto the health science building, providing more space and classrooms for those looking to get into the health care field.
Next, they want to fund the college’s new main building. In there would be a university center. It’s a space where students could obtain a four-year degree from local universities, like Texas A&M Central Texas, all while staying in Temple. There would also be a workforce training center and a new student enrollment portion of the building.
Lastly, they plan to build a new visual arts center and a new campus services center.
“It’ll just allow us to help so many more generations in the future, and to be able to expand our programs as well,” Dr. Ponce said.
If you’re interested in voting to approve the bond or not, early voting begins April 19 through April 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then again on April 26 and April 27 from 7a.m. to 7p.m.
Election day is on May 1, 2021, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a list of places you can drop your ballot off and more in-depth detail about the bond, head over to Temple College’s website.