The East Oregonian editorial on Nov. 21 regarding the failed Blue Mountain Community College and sheriffs office bonds contains a couple of factual errors about the BMCC bond that need to be corrected.
First, the current bond does not expire until the end of June 2014, so voters next May will be voting, as they did in November, on a continuation bond at the same rate as the current bond, 31 cents per $1,000. Contrary to what the EO opined, taxpayers will not see their tax rate increase when they receive their statements next November if they approve the bond in May.
Second, the EO claim that the bond measure included some bells and whistlesa rodeo facility just a few miles from one of the best rodeo arenas in America is just plain wrong. What BMCC wants to build, along with two other in-demand workforce training facilities in Boardman and Hermiston, is an Applied Animal Science Center, a serious educational facility that would support livestock-related workforce training programs requested by local and regional employers: a large animal veterinary technician degree, an equestrian management degree and certificates; a farrier degree and certificates; a feedlot management degree and certificates; dairy, swine, sheep, and goat programs; and saddle-making degree and certificates. It makes perfect sense to design the Applied Animal Science Center in a manner that would allow the college to offer a home, for the first time, to its championship rodeo team.
The Pendleton Round-Up facility, for all its historic charm and importance, does not conform to current design standards for collegiate rodeo facilities. Its a great credit to BMCCs rodeo program that, despite having to piece together its practice and boarding locations in a sometimes nomadic fashion, it continues to recruit top team members and consistently competes at the national level. Just think how much more competitive the team could be if it could board and practice at a modern collegiate rodeo facility.
Moreover, the Applied Animal Science Center would allow on-site service by the veterinary technician program to rodeo team animals, and team members would be able more easily to integrate their athletic work with their academic studies. The Applied Animal Science Center project is not a bell and whistle its a no-brainer academic and workforce training facility that would train people for real jobs in the area and would provide employers in livestock-related businesses with the skilled workforce that they have requested.