WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate last Friday passed the National Defense Authorization Act, following passage in the House of Representatives, included in the bill is the transfer of 285 acres near Highway 160 and Manse Road for a Great Basin College campus.
Great Basin College officials worked to acquire additional land from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, through a recreational and public purpose lease beginning in 2004. Proponents then decided to seek a congressional bill instead to transfer the land, but previous attempts to pass a bill failed, dating back to the 2008 Southern Nevada Higher Education Lands Bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Subsequent bills introduced by former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley in 2010 and former U.S. Rep. Dean Heller in 2011 and the Southern Nevada Higher Education Act, introduced by the Nevada congressional delegation in 2012, also failed to go anywhere.
Great Basin College classes have been held in a building in front of Pahrump Valley High School, at 551 E. Calvada Blvd., since 2001. That 33,000-square-foot building was constructed with a $1.3 million sub-grant agreement with the Community College of Southern Nevada.
Great Basin College President Mark Curtis will visit Pahrump next month to meet with community leaders to plan the steps toward building the campus. Nye County had appropriated $1.5 million toward building the college campus back in 2006, using money from the Payment Equal to Taxes from the Yucca Mountain project, but County Manager Pam Webster said last week the county money is no longer available. Proponents are expected to embark on a public-private capital building campaign.
In a prepared statement, Great Basin College officials thanked the efforts by both U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. and Senator Reid, as well as U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev. and U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., to make the important lands package a reality.
Great Basin College is based in Elko and has a service territory covering 86,514 square miles, including 10 rural Nevada counties,