AC's Master Plan calls for $89 million bond

    Amarillo College unveils new Master Plan and now voters will decide if they pass or turn down an $89 million bond to pay for upgrades and new projects (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)<p>{/p}

    Registered voters inside the Amarillo city limits will vote on a $89.206 million bond after Amarillo College released its Master Plan. The plan calls for improvements to the campus on Washington Street and to its other campuses in Amarillo as the college prepares for a Civil Rights audit in March.

    “Amarillo College has been here for 90 years in August,” said Steven Smith, V.P. of Business Affairs at Amarillo College. “We have 90-year-old buildings and so these are things that have to be done.”

    “We have to be compliant for American Disabilities Act codes and things like ensuring ramps and door openings for people in wheelchairs and for our blind students.”

    If the bond passes, AC is looking to better connect the dots between employers and job seekers by creating an Innovation Hub at its downtown campus.

    “It's based on helping Amarillo to learn how to use new technologies,” said Smith. “New technologies are coming and it will help individuals create new products, possibly create new companies.”

    AC’s enrollment projections indicate sizable growth for the next five years. An estimated 7,000 students are using the campus on Washington Street. There is currently a deficit of parking spaces of 295 spots and its projected to rise to 450-plus in the future if enrollment increases. Students at AC tell ABC 7 News now is the time for AC to address the parking issue.

    “Most of the time there’s never any parking spaces unless you park super far,” said Abigail Campbell, student at AC. “If AC does get more parking then students won’t have to worry about getting up so early and having to get here and wait for class to start.”

    “Parking is crazy,” said Lauren Lane, student at AC. “I had to actually have a guy ask another guy if I can have his parking spot. I drove around each lot and couldn’t find a spot. I couldn’t curbside park, it was a struggle.”

    “I feel like we don’t have enough parking as it is and people have to park on residential streets just to get to class on time,” said Tara Thomas, student at AC.

    Smith tells ABC 7 News Amarillo College has $10 million in reserves and in the event the bond does not pass it would take AC 90 years to complete all the projects.

    The Master Plan was an eight month process and AC had help from Parkhill Smith Cooper for the study.

    The original Master Plan called for a $158 million bond but a steering committee and Board of Regents decided to lower the amount to $89.206 million.

    AC has four campuses in Amarillo and one in Dumas and one in Hereford.

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