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What the millage renewal means for MCCC

Campus structure and safety improvement plans for the next few years are underway.

MCCC’s Maintenance and Improvement Millage was renewed on Nov. 3 passing with a 60.4% margin.

Phase 2 of the millage can now begin in 2021 as planned.

MCCC President Kojo Quartey said the first priority projects include the renovations for the Campbell and Life Science Buildings.

Renovations of the L Building have been ongoing since summer.

The first project will be Phase 2 of the renovation to the C Building.

Joe Verkennes, director of marketing and communications, said the projects will include the renovation to the library, physical and technological improvements to the lower-level classrooms, installation of fire suppression equipment and other building infrastructure improvements.

Key card scanners are present in Founders Hall to gain access to various classrooms and office areas. President Kojo Quartey said one of main improvements to the college during the second phase of the millage funds is to make the campus more safe by adding these scanners in more campus buildings (photo by Jerry Meade).

“There needs to be greater safety in these buildings,” Quartey said.

He said that many offices being right off the main building hallways is a serious security issue.

“If some dastardly individual wanted to perpetrate some crime, there’s professor x right there,” Quartey said.

Key card access scanners were installed to gain access to offices and classrooms in the Founders Hall. These scanners will be added to various rooms around campus during Phase 2 of the millage.

Quartey said the millage funds help free up a large portion of finances for other needs of the college.

“This time we can use those funds for other purposes,” Quartey said.

Even if the campus isn’t fully opened when projects are completed, students will be able to view these new renovations through the college’s website.

“There will be more virtual tours as more projects are complete,” Verkennes said.  “Especially the CLRC project as it takes shape.”

Before the election results were given to Quartey, said he was unsure how voting would be compared to when the millage was first passed in 2016.

“I left here and went to the County Hall where there they game me partial results, telling me that Bedford and Frenchtown’s votes weren’t in yet,” Quartey said.

With Bedford and Frenchtown being the voting municipalities with the largest population, Quartey said they had a large effect in deciding the outcome.

He had confidence in Frenchtown’s approval, but was unsure of Bedford’s stance.

He received the results on the afternoon of Nov. 4 — the millage had passed by 15,000 votes.

Compared to the 2,000-vote win from 2016, Quartey said he was surprised by the voting margins.

Compared to when the millage was first on the ballot in 2016, the renewal’s voter approval rating went up 8.8% from 51.6% in 2016, to 60.4% in 2020 (Illustration by Jerry Meade).

“This time I was hoping for something fairly close to that,” Quartey said. “But it exceeded expectations.”

The largest municipality wins were in Petersburg and Monroe, with only Luna Pier and London having overall voted against the millage.

“Our social media campaign helped us greatly,” Quartey said. “I think it had a significant impact on the results.”

Phase 2 projects will continue until the millage expires in 2026.