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Poulsbo OC campus still in limbo
"POULSBO - The future of Poulsbo's Olympic Campus branch campus is still somewhat uncertain, and a cause of great concern to Poulsbo Mayor Donna Jean Bruce, Poulsbo City Councilmembers and Olympic College President Karl Jonietz. The cause for concern is a delay by Olhava project developer First Western Construction in beginning work on the project infrastructure. City Councilmember Ed Stern expressed his concern that First Western is balking at the eleventh hour and that the total college project could be in jeopardy. I remain skeptical of First Western's intentions, Stern commented in a city council meeting Wednesday evening. I hope the city has a strategy in mind in case we have to play hardball. Mayor Bruce reported to city council on Wednesday that the city is aggressively pursuing discussions with First Western on an almost daily basis. Her impression is that First Western is doing everything they can to go forward with the project and is making good progress toward a May 1 deadline. First Western is not, however, according to an email received by the Mayor interested at this time in the possibility of pursuing a LID (local improvement district) funding option that might allow them a longer period to pay back costs of funding the project's infrastructure. In addition to the concerns about First Western's apparent lack of forward progress on the project is a worry that the state could pull the funding for the project on July 1 if substantial progress is not made on the construction. State Senator Betti Sheldon (D-23), a longtime advocate of the OC Poulsbo campus project, anticipated this concern and has already taken steps to assure that the funding is in place. We locked those funds into the Senate capital budget, which has gone to the House for approval. Rep. Pat Lantz is keeping a close eye on it over there, Sheldon said. Things do change, she cautioned, but at this time the funding for the campus is in the capital budget, and I expect it to stay. I'm going to continue to watch out for it and make sure it's there. Sheldon is also concerned that First Western is moving so slowly on the project. All of this work should have been moving forward, we should have been well on our way to building that campus at this point, she added. "