Pinal county voters appeared headed to approving a$98.98 million in bonds for the Pinal County Community College District.
The money will allow the district to create regional college campuses in the growing communities of Maricopa and the Johnson Ranch/Santan area.
Tom DiCamillo, spokesman for the Central Arizona College, said, “Obviously we’re cautiously optimistic.”
“Central Arizona college is about accessibility, and we wanted to create accessibility for all the residents of Pinal County who want a college education or job training,” DiCamillo said. “We presented a plan to them and so far they’re recognizing this is a good plan for the community.”
The bond money will allow the college to acquire the land and build 100- to 200-acre campuses in Maricopa and the Santan area, and add classrooms and renovate several other campuses throughout Pinal County, including in Apache Junction, Winkelman and Coolidge.
Pinal County has seen an 82 percent population growth from 2000 to 2007, with a 96 percent increase in school-age children, according to the college’s statistics.
The new campuses in Maricopa and the Johnson Ranch area are projected to handle 15,000 students, similar to what the community colleges in Maricopa County are built for. The campuses are to be similar to the Signal Peak campus in Coolidge.
Central Arizona College, which has nine locations in Pinal County, offers more than 90 certificate and degree programs, more than 50 university transfer programs and has partnerships with the three state universities.
Under the bond proposal, the college district would receive the money in July and start the three-year building plan.
Central Arizona College plans to start offering classes this month in a leased 7,000-square-foot building in the Shops at Copper Basin strip mall on Hunt Highway about a mile south of the Johnson Ranch neighborhood. This was the second highest populated region in Pinal County in 2007, with about 40,000 residents.