WITCC Plant Fund Levy on School Election Ballot

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the September 13 School Election Ballot, Western Iowa Tech Community College of Sioux City, with branch campuses in Cherokee and Denison, and satellite facilities in Le Mars and Mapleton, will seek renewal of the current physical plant levy.

This levy is not a new tax. It's been in place since Western Iowa Tech was established in the late 1960s. It costs less than one half cent for every dollar paid in property taxes. It is a levy that Western Iowa Tech Community College must take to the voters every 10 years.

It is used for instructional buildings and labs, instructional equipment and infrastructure maintenance.

With its modern campus and facilities in Cherokee, including the expansive Conference Center here that hosts hundreds of events each year, from business and corporate sessions, to grand wedding and civic functions, WITCC has become a major player in the Cherokee community.

WITCC's request to voters is quite small. Total distribution of the property tax dollar may vary slightly by county but it is consistently true across all Western Iowa communities that less than 0.5 percent of the property tax or less than cent of every dollar paid goes to WITCC's Plant Fund Levy.

Public support of the levy over the years has provided a huge array of educational facilities and tools available for community use in all six counties served by the college, including the main campus in Sioux City and campuses in Cherokee and Denison, and centers in Mapleton and Le Mars.

Over the years, Western Iowa Tech has been a prudent steward of the levy funds. It has grown its capability of serving learners from a base of just 230 students at its opening to now serving nearly 8,000 credit students, 1,200 Lifelong Learners, and 16,000 non-credit/continuing education participants annually.

WITCC is a place where a record number of Siouxlanders are now broadening their horizons, achieving dreams and finding success in their chosen careers.

WITCC has used Plant Fund dollars to create a facility that is state-of-the-art. Its excellent instructional resources assure that programs and training are in tune with the demands of today's workplace.

The Advanced Sciences Building, for example, was constructed in 2004 and funded by the levy. It houses the best in current manufacturing equipment and computer-aided design classrooms. The Advanced Sciences Building also contains the best labs and tools for teaching emergency medical services, nursing, surgery technology, dental assisting, physical therapy, and biology to assure the best in health care for Northwest Iowans. As an extension of the Advanced Sciences Building, a mobile high tech manufacturing lab was created to take skill training directly to schools and business. It serves as just one way WITCC is helping build a skilled workforce.

Customized corporate training through WITCC's Corporate College is another.

Western Iowa Tech is looking to future needs in developing new energy skills that will augment Iowa's goals to be a global leader in renewable energy. In doing so, the college must add new programs and new equipment such as wind turbine and solar energy.

The WITCC Administration has pledged to locate its entire wind energy program in Cherokee after dedicated local organizers secure eventual erection of a wind turbine here.

In addition, WITCC is investing in teaching tools throughout its educational facilities for:

*heating and air conditioning computerized trainers
*decision simulation models for police science
*auto mechanics analyzer
*truck driver training simulator
*computer networking labs
*advanced welding technology

These are just a few examples of ways WITCC is helping develop skills that touch each of us on a daily basis.

All of this and more is provided through the Plant Fund Levy which WITCC asks voters to renew every 10 years. And that request is soon approaching on voting day, September 13.

WITCC helps drive the community's economy by broadening the horizons for thousands of learners and employing nearly 700 workers.

The Sioux City, Cherokee, and Denison campuses have experience record student numbers the past two years and the prognosis is for that steady growth and achievement to continue far into the future.

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