MATC seeks financial help from local governments to expand campus, programs | News |

2022-06-28 23:20:15 By : Ms. Lyra Zhu

Clear skies. Low 63F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph..

Clear skies. Low 63F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

The president of Manhattan Area Technical College wants local governments to consider a ballot question to provide financial assistance for school projects and expansion.

James Genandt, president of Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC), made the request Monday during a luncheon with local officials. MATC is looking to expand its campus from 86,000 square feet to 236,000 square feet, and Genandt said the total cost for all three phases is about $98 million.

Genandt said he wants the Manhattan and Riley County governments, and the Manhattan-Ogden school district to work together and consider a ballot question for 2023 in pursuit of funding via sales or property taxes. He said he wants $750,000 to $1.25 million from local entities for the next 10 years to fund Phase 1 of the project. 

“I get no property tax,” he said. “I get no sales tax. Nothing.”

For Phase 1, this would involving adding 47,000-square-feet of prefabricated steel buildings, which officials said would provide more space for new and existing programs. With the expansion, Genandt expected MATC to gain capacity for at least 300 more students.

Other phases would include renovations of existing spaces and a new three-story building for healthcare classes and programs.

Current enrollment is 1,300 students, and Genandt said MATC has seen an average growth of 7% per year over the last four years. He said applications for tech programs had exceeded capacity, excluding high school students.

“Our graduates stay in the region. They are the ones putting the power back on, fixing your car, fixing your air conditioning,” Gendandt said. “They’re usually the one giving you a shot at the medical clinics around here.”

He said his annual budget is about $8 million, but his economic impact is about $25 million. Of that $8 million, he said he gets less than 30% of it is from the state, and the rest mostly comes from student tuition.

He said officials from Scorpion Biological Services, a biotech company planning to expand to Manhattan, came to campus and “their jaws dropped” when they learned MATC has programs in biotechnology and medical lab system, which is what they need to train their workforce. Genandt said Scorpion expects them to answer the call for the first 40-45% of their workforce.

“You taxing entities are reaping the benefits of what we’ve produced,” Genandt said. “Sorry if that offends you, but I’m being blunt. I keep people in the area. I keep people that are paying taxes.”

Genandt said he wants the entities to work together and then figure out some accountability for the funds. He suggested having someone from each taxing entity on the board, and he can report to them, give them audits and other things to quickly move forward and build without getting into governance issues.

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