WHAT WILL THIS COST?
The first three projects in Phase I of the project cost $23 million. Additional facilities beyond the initial three projects still need to be refined and further developed. Initial estimates based on conceptual drawings and square footage estimates from 2015 suggested the whole project could be completed for $50 million.
HOW WILL THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE BE FUNDED?
Northeast does not plan on requesting any increase in property taxes as of a result of this project. The College plans to contribute $10 million from funds saved and reserved for this project. The remaining funds needed to construct the facilities will be raised through private contributions.
No new faculty will be needed for the Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence until student numbers increase. Any increase in student numbers will lead to a corresponding increase in income from tuition and state aid to fund any additional faculty required.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT PROPERTY TAX LEVY FOR NORTHEAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN THE 20-COUNTY AREA?
The current Northeast Community College tax levy is 9.5 cents per hundred dollars of valuation (including the capital fund), well below the maximum allowed of 11.25 cents. As the valuations have increased, the College reduced the levy request for four consecutive years from 2014 – 2018.
HOW DOES THIS PROPOSAL COMPLEMENT UNIVERSITY RESEARCH?
A vast majority of Northeast Ag students (82%) go directly back to the farm and ranch or into the workforce supporting production agriculture after graduation. Northeast is primarily focused on applied research as a method of experiential, hands-on learning, engaging students and encouraging them to think critically, solve problems and adopt new approaches. These skill sets are needed by all students in agriculture, not just at the baccalaureate level and beyond.
The Nebraska Legislature included applied research as one of four tenets for community colleges when the system was formed in the early 1970’s. Northeast has strong transfer agreements with the state’s university in agriculture and has also partnered with university and extension personnel on College farm research.