North County site discussion resumes

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A feasibility study of a location in Galt — the site currently referred to as the North County Center — was reviewed by the Board of Trustees at the Nov. 15 meeting.

The plan calls for the land to include a teaching farm to accommodate animal husbandry and crops, leading some to speculate what, if anything, Delta would do with its existing farm in Manteca.

In addition to the questions surrounding the fate of the Manteca Farm, the issue of whether Galt or Lodi should be the location of any future satellite campus has become a topic of conversation.

But the Nov. 8 election changed one position on Delta College’s Board of Trustees, giving a seat to Carlos Huerta, who has exhibited support for a Lodi campus.

Dr. Kathy Hart, superintendent and president of Delta College, said a decision on whether the land in Galt will be utilized is uncertain at this time, especially in light of the latest election results.

“The Board may name the Liberty Road property as the selected site [at its meeting] on 12/13,” she said.  “However, they may postpone this decision because there is a new board member who needs to be brought up to speed.”

The decision regarding the proposed satellite campus has been the focus of much discussion in recent weeks.

Delta trustees rejected four proposals from Lodi representatives in November 2015, saying the proposed sites weren’t in areas Delta considered ideal for a new campus.

Lodi city leaders, however, are hoping the election of Huerta means the city will get another chance.

Part of Huerta’s campaign platform was advocating for a Lodi campus, which garnered support from Lodi Mayor Mark Chandler, as well as Pat Patrick, president of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.

Huerta, a former Delta College student, defeated Claudia Moreno in the battle for Area 2, 56 to 44 percent.  Moreno had been on Delta’s Board of Trustees four years.

Neither Huerta nor Moreno responded to emails sent by The Collegian asking for comments regarding the election results.

But Moreno has been on record saying she supported the possibility of Delta building a new campus on property it already owns on Liberty Road near Highway 99 in Galt.

According to the “Carlos Huerta for Delta Trustee” Facebook page, Huerta is against the idea of Delta, “putting satellite campuses … on the outskirts of our district.”

Delta College currently owns the property in Galt. The city of Galt has reportedly offered water and sewage services on the condition Delta pay for the pipes.

Any move to Lodi would require purchasing new land, as well as paying for utilities and infrastructure, costs Delta isn’t currently equipped to pay.

While a new bond measure could be proposed to pay for those expenses, such a measure would have to wait for the next election and be approved by the taxpayers.

The Galt site would require a smaller bond than any site in Lodi.

Lodi’s chances for a satellite campus would likely depend on Delta selling the Manteca Farm and using the proceeds to supplement whatever funds are left over from 2004’s Measure L coffers.

“There is no plan to sell the Manteca Farm,” said Hart.  “The two decisions do not depend on one another.”