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Home / Government / Voters open wallets for construction-related referendums (UPDATE)

Voters open wallets for construction-related referendums (UPDATE)

By Joe Lanane

Voter confidence won out Tuesday when a 60 percent majority approved the Madison Area Technical College’s request to complete $134 million worth of construction work on five campuses.

The college asked voters in all or parts of 12 counties in south-central Wisconsin to favor $51 million for upgrades at three Madison campuses; construction of a $43 million health services building in Madison; $7.3 million to expand classrooms on campuses in Reedsburg, Portage, Watertown and Fort Atkinson; and $32.4 million for outdoor vocational training courses, storm water system upgrades and property acquisition.

“In spite of the economy and voter reaction across the nation and even locally, it is truly a statement of how people value what we do for the community,” said Roger Price, the college’s vice president of infrastructure services. “It allows us to accelerate our efforts and help contribute to the economy.”

The work will address the college’s 22 percent enrollment increase during the past five years, Price said.

Mike Stark, the college’s director of facilities, said both faculty and students helped shape the project by identifying many of the school’s needs, but it was Madison-based J.H. Findorff & Son Inc. that oversaw planning and budget efforts since being hired in January as the project’s construction program manager.

“There are a lot of different parts and pieces, and having Findorff’s help to help put those together has been invaluable,” Stark said.

John Feller, Findorff senior project manager, said the referendum approval allows the real work to begin. He said the building designs should be complete in the coming months, and requests for proposals will be taken shortly after. He said Findorff will be among those firms submitting competitively priced bids.

“A lot of our field forces have graduated from MATC, so they’re excited about the whole thing,” Feller said. “We’d certainly like to keep working with them, but we’ll see how the bids come in.”

It was the first time since 1974 the college asked district voters to approve a construction referendum.

Price said construction on multiple buildings, including the health services building — the centerpiece of the referendum — could begin by July 1.

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