MJC east parking lot expansion gets land

Modesto Junior College students are one step closer to getting more parking on the east campus.

Yosemite Community College District trustees approved an agreement Wednesday night to purchase 3.75 acres on Tully Road west of the campus from the Champion family. The price came in about $435,000.

Combining that land with plots already owned by the YCCD would allow 325 spots to be added to an existing lot, bringing it to 525 spaces, according to estimates by officials. That would increase parking on the east campus from nearly 2,200 spaces to 2,525, according to estimates.

This alternative is quicker, cheaper and will provide more spaces than a proposed parking garage. Officials still hope to build a garage, but will move it to the bottom of the priority list. The parking garage would cost about $12 million while the work on the Tully lot is estimated at $4 million. It would provide more parking and could open as early as the end of this year, while the parking garage wouldn't be ready until 2009.

Funding to come from bond

Funding will come from the YCCD's Measure E, a $326 million school bond passed in November 2004 to build new facilities and renovate others at MJC and Columbia College.

Also at Wednesday night's meeting, trustees approved issuing another round of Measure E bonds. In 2005, the district issued $94.5 million; the second round is for $150 million through Citigroup to pay for continuing construction. The cost for taxpayers will stay around $20 per $100,000 of assessed property value, officials said.

Construction projects are on the upswing, and so is student enrollment, officials said. Administrators at Columbia and MJC reported gains in spring semester enrollment -- the largest at MJC, where data show a 6 percent increase in enrollment compared with spring 2007.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at mhatfield@modbee.com or 578-2339.