By Mark Waite -
A U.S. Economic Development Administration grant has to be amended before Great Basin College can move from its present location to the former Mount Charleston Elementary School.
Nye County commissioners Tuesday voted to send a request to amend a $3 million EDA grant awarded in 1999 for the Community College of Southern Nevada Pahrump Technology Center and Distance Education Network. But commissioners had questions about the possible budget cuts facing Great Basin College, which took over the Pahrump campus from CCSN.
The Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education have been considering a different type of funding formula, which would cut the Great Basin College budget 30 percent over the next two years from $14 million to $9.5 million. It still has a ways to go before approval, the Board of Regents, then the state Legislature and Gov. Brian Sandoval would have to approve it.
“Do we really believe the Pahrump campus is going to be a priority with GBC?” Nye County Commissioner Joni Eastley asked. “I’m very concerned about approving a request for this, about giving them considerably more facility than was asked for in the original request, knowing we’re looking at a 32 percent reduction in funding.”
She didn’t want the county commission to look at it “with a collective pair of rose-colored glasses on.”
“I would love a guarantee from them this is going to move forward,” Eastley said of the proposed move.
Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said hopefully if Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, wins the state Senate race he won’t support the budget plan.
“I think they are committed to the Pahrump campus, I hope, and because the school district agrees with this swap is the only reason I support it,” Schinhofen said.
The $3 million EDA grant was part of a proposed High Tech Corridor, outlined by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 1999, as the federal government was downsizing the Nevada Test Site. It was intended to be a corridor along Highway 95 from Pahrump to Tonopah.
The EDA grant included a $1.3 million sub grant agreement with CCSN to construct a 33,000 square foot center to house the High Technology Center and Distance Learning Center. The building originally referred to as the High Tech Center opened in front of Pahrump Valley High School in September 2001.
The building, now known as the Great Basin College Pahrump Center, contains college classrooms and a large lobby with computers.
The county letter to Leonard Smith, regional EDA director in Seattle, states when Great Basin College moves to Mount Charleston Elementary School the school district would have use of the High Tech Center. Great Basin College would have a larger facility more suited for its needs, the letter states.
“Recipient Nye County and sub grantee Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education are asking the Economic Development Commission to amend the conditions of the grant award and give up its lien on the current High Tech Center so that this exchange may occur. The Board of Regents will agree to a similar lien being placed on the Mount Charleston Elementary School to assure that the conditions of the original grant continue to be met,” the letter states.