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Frequently Asked Questions

Public Safety + Transportation Center FAQs

The College has been asked, "Why now?"

A team of Blackhawk staff and key stakeholders began work in early 2019 developing a plan to address inadequate, undersized, or the absence of, critical hands-on training facilities for our students, municipalities, and workforce development partners. This team encouraged Blackhawk Technical College to move ahead with the PSTC project for several reasons:

  • Demand for and enrollment in our public safety and transportation programs is expected to increase by 10% in the coming years;
  • The design and construction of the facility will take nearly three years to fully complete and be available for use by BTC students, local agencies and businesses as well as community partners;
  • Data from a community-wide survey demonstrated stakeholder interest and willingness to likely support the project;
  • Historically low-interest rates and a competitive construction market may allow us to do more work for less cost, thereby maximizing the impact of taxpayer dollars for the completion of the PSTC over the next three years.

Below is a list of additional frequently asked questions regarding the Public Safety + Transportation Center Referendum. If you have a question not addressed below, email us at officeofthepresident@blackhawk.edu.  

Frequently Asked Questions

A referendum is simply an electorate vote on a question put forth by a government body, including a technical college district. As publicly funded organizations, Wisconsin technical college districts are required by law to get voter approval, via a referendum, to borrow money for large facilities or other projects that are too expensive to complete within regular budgets.  
The Blackhawk Technical College District has authorized a referendum seeking voter approval to borrow funds not to exceed $32,000,000 needed to design and construct a comprehensive Public Safety and Transportation Center (PSTC) on the main campus in Janesville. 
Blackhawk Technical College’s public safety and transportation training programs are hindered by inadequate, undersized or the absence of critical, hands-on training facilities. The proposed PSTC will provide our students and community partners with training facilities that are safe, local, comprehensive, and responsive.   
The Blackhawk Technical College District Board has authorized a referendum for the proposed PSTC project not to exceed $32 million to complete the design, construction and furnishing of the new facility. These costs may include all new construction, site work, equipment, furnishings, professional services, permits, and fees. 
If passed, the referendum is estimated to increase annual property taxes by a maximum of $3.00 per $100,000 of property value (compared to the existing debt service mill rate).  The increase is expected to last approximately two years before it begins to decline to current levels. 
Bonds will be paid off over a twenty-year period of time. Multiple phases of debt will be issued over the next three years because construction funding will not be needed all at once.   
Estimated tax exempt interest rates range between 3% and 4% are assumed, based on the timing of the borrowings (see above). 
No, the tax impact we are communicating most broadly is the additional cost increase from the current debt service amount taxpayers already pay each year. The proposed project’s average annual cost is projected at approximately $13 per $100,000 of property value. If approved by voters, the total mill rate will not increase by this amount because as existing debt is paid off, those funds will support debt payments specifically for the PSTC. In short, the tax impact being shared is the projected net increase from current mill rate. 

The estimated tax impacts associated with public construction projects are affected by several factors, but one of the most significant is the total equalized property value within the district. The larger the area and the higher the total property value, the lower the cost to individual property owners.  

For example, Blackhawk Technical College serves 51 different municipalities, which includes 17 separate school districts in Rock and Green counties. This is a much larger geographic area resulting in greater property value compared to any one individual school district’s valuation meaning that the tax impact is more widely distributed than most K-12 projects.  

According to an independent study, the project will add more than $83 million to the local economy by 2030.

download View the Executive Summary   download Download the EIS Fact Sheet

  • November 2020: PSTC Referendum Approved  

  • November 2020 to Spring 2021: Architectural Design & Project Bidding Underway  

  • Spring 2021: Groundbreaking  

  • Summer 2021 – Winter 2023: Construction Underway (Center for Transportation Studies and EVOC track available Fall 2021) 

  • Fall 2022: Outdoor Elements Available for Use 

  • Spring/Summer 2023: Celebrate Grand Opening of the Public Safety and Transportation Center 

Phase 1 of the project was completed this past summer in response to a need for immediate site safety improvements by relocating the truck driving program off site and away from the regular campus parking lots at Central Campus. Phase 1 included basic site work and the installation of an asphalt parking lot to serve as the truck driving training area (and future practice “skid pad” for vehicles of all sizes). Phase 1 cost approximately $700,000 and was funded through the 2019-2020 capital project budget. The rest of the PSTC projects are proposed under the current referendum. If approved by voters in November, these projects will be completed and available for use within the next three years. 
Currently there are 699 students enrolled in the nine separate programs that would be impacted by the construction of the training center. Enrollment in these programs is projected to increase in the coming years due to workforce demand. Conservative estimates indicate that once the project is complete and the PSTC is fully operational by 2024, student enrollment in the specialized programs being served there will be approximately 945. This does not take into account local and regional groups that may also use the Public Safety + Transportation Center each year. 
Right now there are no comprehensive public safety and transportation training facilities in Green and Rock counties like the proposed PSTC.  Currently Blackhawk students, staff and community partners travel to several other facilities to complete their degrees, meet requirements for ongoing training, and practice their skills as far away as Madison and Rockford, IL. This is expensive and time intensive.   
graphic of the PSTC sitemap

Project Information

Learn more about the project proposal, programs it will serve, and an estimated timeline.

View Project Information
ongoing construction at the PSTC site

Construction Updates

Access the project landing page for an updated timeline and construction highlights.

Preview the Project Site
rendering of the Public Safety + Transportation Center

Pledge Your Support

Become a founding partner in our PSTC by pledging your support to our cutting-edge training facility.

View Naming Opportunities

Questions/Feedback? 

For questions about the Public Safety +Transportation Center, please feel free to reach out at (608) 757-7772 or OfficeofthePresident@blackhawk.edu.

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