Del Mar to discuss budget for new South Side campus, but some have concerns

Posted at 6:57 PM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 19:57:52-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — The budget for the new Del Mar College South Side campus will be discussed during a Board of Regents meeting on Tuesday morning. The board will discuss the approval of the $107 million price tag for Package Two of the project. That package includes a library, an administration building, a STEM building, and a culinary arts building.

Minor changes include eliminating a 4th floor terrace on the library and a student walkway. Despite the changes, the project cost has increased and will cost taxpayers an extra $20 million.

The estimated cost for the project was $87 million, but some of the bids were as high as $122 million. The Board of Regents and a construction company were able to negotiate, meeting in the middle at $107 million. That cost is still within the $139 million approved by voters during a 2016 bond.

However many like Gerald Sansing, the President of the Taxpayers Association, believe the numbers just don't add up.

"They are really upset, ya know, all the taxpayers around here that pay attention," said Sansing. "And we don't want our kids to be paying for that (the campus) for 30 years."

Sansing has also been teaching as a professor at Del Mar College for 30 years. He's been around since the Board of Regents began planning the South Side Campus.

"They said we were bursting at the seams with students which have not panned out," said Sansing.

In a previous KRIS 6 investigative story, we told you that in the fall of 2015, Del Mar College reported to the state it had almost 11,000 students attending. But the school claimed it had 50,000 enrollments, failing to mention many of those students are part of workforce training or dual-credit programs. Many also don't need to go to campus.

That's leading many to believe the college isn't "bursting at the seams."

In a statement from Del Mar College, they said they did what they could to negotiate the $107 million price tag "without sacrificing construction quality or losing any teaching space from the new buildings.

But now, Tuesday's vote is for a project that's gone up significantly in price, and for a project some people believe is not necessary. Many, like those who are part of the Taxpayers Association, will be there to share their concerns

"What I would say is to go ahead and find a good developer," said Sansing. "And sell that off and then recoup what we can with the bond money."

Professor Sansing tells KRIS 6 another reason he does not see the need for a South Side campus is because only about 35% of the classrooms are used on the Del Mar College East Campus, and about 25% are used on the West Campus

Construction for the new South Side campus has been delayed. Work on the buildings and parking lot will now begin in Spring of 2020, and is expected to be finished in 2022.

Tuesday's Board of Regents meeting will begin at 11 am.