Moraine Park Board Takes First Step Toward $55 Million Referendum

The Moraine Park Technical College District Board passed a resolution Wednesday stating an intent to borrow $55 million to enhance campus learning spaces to meet future student and regional workforce needs.

The resolution is the first formal step toward a potential referendum in the November election. Under state law, technical colleges must hold referendums before completing capital projects with a cost of more than $1.5 million.

If successful, the $55 million referendum will allow Moraine Park to borrow funds to enhance and grow Moraine Park facilities to meet the needs of business and industry in the region through four major projects. Additionally, this proposal will allow Moraine Park to:

  • Respond to the growing workforce shortages.
  • Accommodate evolving industry expectations.
  • Address evolving technology, including in the areas of automation and robotics.
  • Provide greater access to all district communities.
  • Align with community expectations and workforce training requirements.
  • Keep the region competitive by preparing students and workforces of the future.

“Many of our district employers are fueled by Moraine Park graduates. Our goal is to continue to meet the needs of our local business and industry partners by leveraging our updated and growing facilities and equipment to expand technical college opportunities,” Moraine Park’s President, Bonnie Baerwald, said. “It is our responsibility to continue planning for growth that aligns with our local needs—and investing $55 million into enhancements, expansions and new construction projects over the next few years will help us do just that.”

The district board supported a request to explore growth opportunities at a board workshop in November 2020. Since then, Moraine Park leaders and internal teams have gathered research, held partnership meetings, explored district opportunities, prioritized projects, and obtained cost information related to architecture and construction. In April, the College surveyed a random sampling of 10,000 district community members to gauge community support. The survey results indicated voter support for a $55 million referendum. Additionally, the Moraine Park Foundation has raised nearly $2 million in donation pledges to help offset the costs.

“In the coming months, our work at Moraine Park will revolve around informing our communities of the importance of technical education in our district and the impact this referendum will have on the future of our district,” Baerwald added.

Under the proposed $55 million facilities enhancement plan, annual property taxes would increase by $21 per $100,000 of property value ($1.75 per month) for the next 20 years. The next step for Moraine Park is a public hearing in which district community members are welcome; the public hearing will be held at 5:15 p.m. Monday, July 11, on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus, 235 N. National Ave.

The Moraine Park District Board will vote in August on the final referendum question language, which will solidify a path forward to the November election. If approved, this will be the first time Moraine Park has financed projects using a referendum.

The Moraine Park district includes Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Washington counties and small portions of surrounding counties. The College, with campus locations in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac, and West Bend, plays a critical role in training more than 12,000 students each year for industry-critical jobs. Moraine Park students pursue degrees in many high-demand areas, including information technology, cybersecurity, accounting, nursing, respiratory therapy, advanced manufacturing, and website and graphic design.

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Written by Kristina Haensgen
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