Audit finds Measure E, Measure M bonds in full compliance

An aerial photo of the College of the Canyons Valencia Campus in March 2015. Courtesy of COC

Source: College of the Canyons.  To see The Signal’s version of this story visit:

The Santa Clarita Community College District’s independent citizens’ bond oversight committee has accepted the results of an independent audit confirming that, for the 11th year in a row, the district has properly accounted for all bond expenditures and issued the District an unmodified opinion – the best rating possible – noting no adjustments, audit findings, questioned costs or instances of bond noncompliance.

Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. LLP conducted both the financial and performance audit, covering the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017.

The firm presented its report to the district’s independent citizens’ bond oversight committee at a meeting Jan. 16, 2018.

“Having an independent audit really brings peace of mind,” said Nicholas Lentini, chair of the bond oversight committee, at the meeting. “It enables us to ensure the community that our tax dollars are being used responsibly and effectively.”

The 2016-17 audits confirm approximately $228.5 million in resources from the first five bond issuances, which also includes earned interest and net premium in the bonds. Of that amount, more than $152.3 million has been expended on authorized bond projects, leaving the District with a Measure M bond project fund balance of $26.3 million and a Measure E fund balance of $49.9 million as of June 30, 2017.

“I appreciate the commitment of the chair, Nick Lentini, and members of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for their work in reviewing the expenditures on a regular basis to confirm they met the criteria of what the voters had authorized,” said Sharlene Coleal, assistant superintendent, vice president of business services at the college. “I would also like to thank Jim Schrage, vice president of Facilities and Fiscal Services staff for their work to ensure fiscal oversight and compliance.”

Measure M was approved by Santa Clarita Valley voters Nov. 7, 2006.

Since its passage, the $160 million bond measure has helped fund a wide variety of major facilities and campus expansions at the college, such as the construction of the Mentry Hall Expansion, The Learning Center (TLC)/Library Expansion, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, the Canyon Country Campus, the College of the Canyons Institute for Culinary Education (iCUE), and the Canyons Hall student services/administration building.

The final Measure M issuance of $20 million will go toward the construction of the Science Center at the Canyon Country campus and a 1,659-space parking structure at the Valencia campus. Measure E, the $230 million general obligation bonds approved by voters in June 2016, will provide the remaining funding necessary for the completion of those two projects and future construction projects.

“The success of any project is due in large part to the community that it is part of,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “College of the Canyons is very fortunate to have the support of the Santa Clarita Valley community as the college continues to build to accommodate our growing student population at both campuses.”

The Science Center, will be located at the center of the Canyon Country campus, serving as a focal point for students and first-time visitors.

The approximately 55,000-square-foot facility will primarily be devoted to physical and biological sciences, housing eight labs and 10 science service rooms. Additionally, the four-level building will also house three computer labs, 24 faculty offices, seven group study rooms, open study spaces, lab service spaces, as well as seven lecture rooms, including a lecture room with
75-seating capacity. It is expected to be completed by 2020.

The Student Services/Learning Resources Building will be the new home to Student Services and The Learning Center (TLC). The four-story building will be opposite the Science Center at the center of campus and will provide office and library space.

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