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Lawmaker: tech college board Submitted: 09/13/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - The Nicolet Area Technical College Board of Trustees wants to renovate a campus building.

But one state lawmaker believes the board is scamming the public to pay for the renovation.

Whitewater Republican Representative Steve Nass is calling the board out.

Here's why.

Nicolet College is partly funded by Northwoods taxpayers.

That means any project of more than $1.5 million need to be approved by referendum.

Northwoods voters have historically been reluctant to support projects like that.

Now, Nicolet wants to do a $4.5 million renovation project.

The work would be in the same building at the same time.

But the college is saying the renovations are actually three separate projects.

None would cost more than $1.5 million.

That means Nicolet would not have to put a referendum before voters.

"This basic bureaucratic arrogance," Nass told us. "I don't buy what the board is doing. It's a scam. What they're doing is an end run, they're breaking it up floor by floor to circumvent what the law would otherwise have them do and that's go to referendum."

We asked the Nicolet Board of Trustees Chair, Deanna Pierpont, if that was true.

"No. It has nothing to do with that at all. It's something that, it's the law. Everything we do at Nicolet has to go through the state board, so they make the approvals of it," Pierpont said.

Pierpont told us each project is truly separate.

Nass says he may take the issue to the legislature if he sees Nicolet continuing to abuse the rules.

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