College finds detour around state construction gridlock

Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Article via King 5
By Drew Mikkelsen
South Puget Sound Community College creatively funded a project that should have been paid for by the state.

Gridlock in Olympia has put hundreds of construction projects on hold across the state of Washington, but not at South Puget Sound Community College.

The college used surplus funds to complete a renovation of a project that was supposed to be paid for with the state's construction budget .

“It's extremely frustrating,” said college spokeswoman Kelly Green.

For the first time in modern history, lawmakers failed to pass a construction budget, known as the capital budget, to pay for more than $4 billion in projects for state hospitals, prisons, and schools.

Republicans refused to pass the budget without Democrats passing legislation to overturn a State Supreme Court ruling on property owners' water rights.

Green said the college halted construction on a building renovation for a month before finding the funding to complete the project on their own.

“If we had left this building in the state that it was through winter, who knows what additional costs would have come,” said Green.

She said completing the project after the one-month delay added about $120,000 to the budget.

Governor Jay Inslee said he hopes lawmakers reach a deal on the capital budget in the first week of next year's legislative session, which begins in January.