A group of Lodi citizens wants to remind San Joaquin Delta College officials that local residents still want to pursue a satellite campus in Lodi.
The community was delighted with the thought that Delta College would have a major presence in Lodi after voters throughout the district approved Measure L, a $250 million bond measure, in 2004.
But plans for a 118-acre campus between Victor Road and the Mokelumne River fell through, and there hasn’t been much discussion since.
Now, that may be changing.
“We have small group interested in bringing a Delta campus to Lodi,” Lodi City Councilman Bob Johnson said. “I’m concerned that we’re being put on the back burner.”
The group has conducted a couple of informal meetings, but no consensus has been reached about what size a Lodi campus should be or where it might be located, Johnson said.
Johnson declined to disclose with whom he’s discussing a potential Lodi campus.
According to the most recent financial figures on Measure L, $654,640 remains allocated to what the bond measure’s annual report for the 2011-12 fiscal year calls a “Lodi outreach facility.” However, Nicole Goehring, a Lodi resident on the bond oversight committee, says there is an additional $68 million in future releases available for Delta projects and more in contingency that is available.
According to the annual report, the Delta College Board of Trustees declared Lodi a “suspended project” at its board meeting on July 19, 2011.
That doesn’t mean that plans for a satellite campus in Lodi are dead. In fact, now might be a good time to discuss how to best serve Delta College students who live in Lodi, according to college Vice President Michael Kerns.
“The college is extremely interested in meeting with the (Lodi) group,” Kerns said. “Discussions are healthy.”
It will be up to Delta College’s board of trustees to prioritize how to use the remaining Measure L bond money. The main campus in Stockton has a lot of deferred maintenance needs, so the board will have to balance those needs with establishing a Lodi satellite campus, Kerns said.
“As a board member, I have to stay neutral,” said Delta board member Taj Khan, who lives in Lodi. “Part of the original plan was to locate in Lodi.”
Nanette Green, a retired Lodi-area educator, is a member of Johnson’s informal group.
“We voted for Measure L with the idea that a regional center would be built in Lodi,” Green said. “We need to decide what we want and present it to the college.”
Green said her interest in a Lodi campus stems from her days as a student at Delta College and the fact that her three children were educated there.
Johnson said his group hopes to meet with college President Kathy Hart in the near future.
Green said the children of Lodi, Galt and Calaveras County have the right to higher education without driving as long as an hour to the Stockton campus.
“We’re all watching that,” said Goehring, the Measure L Oversight Committee board member. “We want something Lodi-centric.”
The Delta College district includes San Joaquin County. It also includes Galt, Rio Vista, Calaveras County and small portions of Sacramento, Solano and Alameda counties.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.