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L.A. Community College District sets reforms for building program

May 30, 2012 |  1:52 pm

L.A. City College track and field

The Los Angeles Community College District is creating a $160-million reserve fund to address  unforeseen costs associated with its $6-billion campus rebuilding program.

Officials said Wednesday that the fund is part of a series of reforms being undertaken in response to criticism -- including problems outlined in an August 2011 audit by the state controller -- that the program has been rife with poor planning, questionable spending and lax oversight.

Part of the fund will be used to hire a risk assessment firm to determine the level of reserves to be maintained.

L.A. Community Colleges: Billions to spend

The district is also setting aside a fixed amount of general funds each year for deferred maintenance and repairs of existing facilities. The policies were approved by the Board of Trustees last week after being recommended by an ad hoc committee.

“Our board is serious about improving our capital construction program and we have taken aggressive actions to reform it,” said board president Miguel Santiago, a member of the ad hoc committee.

“The board’s actions will increase the building program’s ability to deliver projects on time and under budget and make us responsible stewards of our college facilities.”

The rebuilding project became mired in controversy after The Times last year published a six-part series detailing mismanagement, cost overruns, delays and shoddy workmanship in the district's ambitious campaign to modernize its nine aging campuses using bond money approved by voters in 2001, 2003 and 2008. About half of the construction funds have been spent so far.

Since The Times’ reports, the district has undertaken a series of reforms, including imposing a moratorium on new projects, centralizing management and setting new audit procedures.


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Photo: The L.A. City College's track and field was among the sites awaiting solutions to defects.  Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times