Route to Referendum Success: Strategies to Get to Yes


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The Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) referendum was conducted during tough economic times and a turbulent political landscape. Miron Construction worked with Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) to clearly identify FVTC's needs. Extensive input was gathered from key stakeholder groups including faculty, staff, students and valued community partners. Dr. Susan May, FVTC president, said: "EUA and Miron helped us design a process to gain public support from all constituencies, one that assisted FVTC in making effective and efficient decisions in a relatively short time frame." The result was a $66.5 million referendum that passed with 66 percent approval. Craig Uhlenbrauck, vice president of marketing for Miron who works first-hand with all educational projects, could speak to their approach on this and any educational project in their portfolio.

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Route to Referendum Success: Strategies to Get to Yes

  1. 1. American Association of Community Colleges 93rd Annual Convention April 23, 2013 ROUTE TO REFERENDUM SUCCESS: Strategies to Get to Yes
  2. 2. Team Introductions Dr. Susan May Craig Uhlenbrauck President Referendum Coordinator Fox Valley Technical College Miron Construction Co., Inc. Kit Dailey Steve Tyink Public Information Specialist FVTC Foundation Board President Eppstein Uhen Architects Community Engagement Miron Construction Co., Inc.
  4. 4. A Few StatisticsLast referendum was 199850% enrollment growth since last referendumFVTC serves approximately 53,000 people annually
  5. 5. Turbulent Political Landscape and Weak Economy
  6. 6. Scope of Referendum ProjectsPublic Safety Training Center - $34.8M • Vital hands-on tactical training for students and public safety professionalsHealth Simulation and Technology Center - $11.9M • Enhanced training through patient/medical simulationStudent Success Center - $7.4M • Increased support service space to help more/diverse students become work readyTransportation Center Expansion - $6.2M • Addresses state’s annual need for 8,000-10,000 truck drivers and 400 diesel mechanics
  7. 7. Scope of Referendum Projects continued…Agriculture Center Expansion - $3.5M • Accommodates 87% enrollment growth in ag-related programs since 2008Chilton Regional Center Purchase/Expansion - $1.7M • Meets rural health care training needs & reduces operating expenseFuture Regional Expansion- Oshkosh - $1.0M (land only) • Provides for future campus needs & program growth
  8. 8. Summary of Referendum Public Referendum Held Tuesday, April 3, 2012 Not to Exceed $66.5M• Approximately $1/month• Tax impact estimated at $12.50/year per $100,000 of property value – 15 years Referendum Passed with 65% Approval
  9. 9. 4 KEYS TO REFERENDUM READINESS 1 2 3 4Partners & Planning Community Engagement College Foundation Realistic Timing
  10. 10. 4 KEYS TO REFERENDUM READINESS 1Partners & Planning
  11. 11. Role of Leadership Who gets involved and when?
  12. 12. Role of Internal LeadershipExecutive Team • Confirm and reinforce the needs • Oversee the process • Implement planning & information strategiesBoard • Key decision-making timeline • Public representation and connectionFoundation • TechWorks /Friends of FVTC – public advocacyStakeholders • Community partners, employers, students, staff, faculty
  13. 13. Leadership RetreatRetreat with FVTC Leadership Team • Learned about referendum process • Brainstormed critical needs • Created Facilities Vision Statement
  14. 14. Establish Your Professional Partner Team EARLY Research Partners Construction Manager Financial Advisor Architectural Partner
  15. 15. Partners & PlanningIdentify Needs • What will the projects be?Consider Timing How quickly do you need to implement? • Strategy for Election Cycles • Legal Requirements • College & System Deadlines • Existing Debt ObligationsDo the Homework • How do you fund it? • How do we get there? Position Board To Make Informed Decisions, Not Poor Decisions
  16. 16. Define ScopeMaster PlanningProgramming/Space AnalysisEstimating • Facility Costs • Operational Costs
  17. 17. 4 KEYS TO REFERENDUM READINESS 2CommunityEngagement
  18. 18. Community Engagement Economic Impact Study Public Opinion Poll Facilities Planning Summit Key Board Community Decision Partner on Survey Employer Referendum Demand Faculty & Staff Student Survey Needs
  19. 19. 4 KEYS TO REFERENDUM READINESS 3 College Foundation
  20. 20. FVTC Foundation Inc.• Background• Mission• Assets• Role of Foundation• Personal Reputation The Foundations mission is to be the Colleges partner in securing and providing various resources to promote lifelong learning and workforce development throughout the communities we serve.
  21. 21. Oh No! Not the“R” word!
  22. 22. Steps the Foundation Took ESTABLISH THE TEAM • Leadership Team IMPLEMENTATION • Community Steering Committee - TechWorks • Video • Professional Resources • Testimonials LOGISTICS • Legal considerations • Budget • FundraisingCAMPAIGN STRATEGY MESSAGING & BRANDING
  23. 23. TechWorks Campaign
  24. 24. 4 KEYS TO REFERENDUM READINESS 4 Realistic Timing
  25. 25. Realistic TimingLaying the Groundwork • Building Institutional Reputation • Ongoing Community Research • Service to the Region • Identifying core needs Always in Referendum Mode….Reality is Perception
  26. 26. Realistic Timing Planning
  27. 27. Readiness Self Assessment What is the community’s perception of your College? Can you articulate your critical needs? Does your vision anticipate future needs? Can you demonstrate responsiveness to local demand and various stakeholders? Are you positioned financially for this effort? Have you maximized other financial means to address needs? Do you have a proactive communication strategy? What’s your reputation with the local media? How well is your College Foundation positioned to support this? Is the timing right for your community?
  28. 28. 4 KEYS TO REFERENDUM READINESS 1 2 3 4Partners & Planning Community Engagement College Foundation Realistic Timing
  29. 29. QUESTIONS?
  30. 30. American Association of Community Colleges 93rd Annual Convention April 23, 2013 Thank you! ROUTE TO REFERENDUM SUCCESS: Strategies to Get to Yes
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