Higher ed gets help from bonds

While many K-12 schools in Shelby County are looking to Gov. Bob Riley&8217;s recent $1.07 billion education bond issue to help with overcrowding woes, higher education systems hope to tackle long overdue repairs.

&8220;Typically we use this type of bond issue for deferred maintenance issues,&8221; said David Pritchett, director of the physical plant at the University of Montevallo. The four-year college, which enrolled approximately 2,895 students in 2006, expects to receive just over $2.2 million.

Pritchett said the money will help cover costs of new roofs, plumbing, exterior paint projects and work to air conditioning and heating systems. He said the university also plans to address needed improvements to residence halls as well as handicap accessibility.

&8220;Our needs are so great, and we keep a list at the ready. It&8217;s just a matter of when we get the final figures on what we can spend,&8221; Pritchett said.

Jefferson State Community College, which reported a total of 7,628 students in Fall 2006, receives $3.34 million. Officials said the two-year college system hopes to use the money to help with a new site at its Shelby campus along with other

expansion projects.

&8220;We have a lot of construction programs going on, and it certainly helps,&8221; said Dr. Joe Morris, vice president of the Jeff State system.

The governor&8217;s office has yet to decide in what order school systems will receive money, something it won&8217;t determine until the end of 2007.

What post-secondary officials do know

is that their wish lists are much bigger than their allotments.

&8220;In the grand scheme of things, it just barely makes a dent in our needs, so we have to be very careful how we spend it,&8221; Pritchett said.

Where Bond money goes

– $2.2 million to University of Montevallo. Officials expect money to be used for maintenance repairs.

– $3.34 million to Jefferson State Community College. Administrators expect to spend the money on expansion projects.