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Task force: Roseville prime location for university

City signs memorandum of understanding with Sacramento State
By: Sena Christian, the Press Tribune
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Roseville offers a "favorable climate" for a future comprehensive university, according to the recommendations of the city's recently formed Higher Education Task Force.

The group cites expected population growth in the area, an anticipated greater demand for local higher education options and increased transportation barriers to nearby four-year colleges as reasons why Roseville makes an ideal location.

The task force also says a private university will bring job creation and economic development, and more arts and cultural activities to the area.

Roseville City Councilman John Allard praised the task force during the presentation at Wednesday's council meeting.

"We've talked for years about wouldn't it be nice to have a college or university in Roseville ... I think the effort here was, OK, what do we have to do to get one and let's go forward and go find one," Allard said. "I would encourage the council to embrace this (as) a top priority (and) encourage us to invest the time and resources in moving forward with this versus approving the plan and putting it on a shelf and gathering dust."

The council unanimously approved the task force recommendations and directed staff to use up to $50,000 to continue with next steps, including launching a website and marketing campaign, and hiring a consultant.

The ultimate goal is to attract a comprehensive university, but task force member Bonita Roznos, director at Brandman University's Roseville campus, warned of a long journey ahead.

"We are focusing on a comprehensive university but we know it's a long-term endeavor that may take up to two decades," Roznos said.

In the meantime, the city will look at short-term options, such as developing university centers, attracting a satellite campus or local expansion of an international educational institution.

During Wednesday's meeting, the City Council also unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with California State University, Sacramento to identify shared opportunities within the region, including the possible expansion of the university's local presence.

This isn't the first time Roseville has tried to court a university. Philadelphia-based Drexel University had been working on plans for a new campus in Placer County but pulled the plug on that project in August. That proposal involved 600 acres of undeveloped land in west Placer located adjacent to Roseville.

The city formed its 19-member Higher Education Task Force in June, which includes Allard, Councilman Tim Herman, Placer County Planning Commissioner Richard Roccucci, Roseville Joint Union High School District Superintendent Tony Monetti, Sierra College President Willy Duncan and Vice President for Student Development at William Jessup University Dr. Paul Blezien.

Roznos said the California Department of Finance projects Roseville's population to double from the year 2000 to 2030 with $170,537 residents. Placer County's population is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2010 to 2020 to 428,535 residents.

More than 115,000 community college students live within a one-hour drive to the Roseville area - and this number will likely grow in the future. Blezien said the region is currently underserved by higher education institutions.

More than 2,000 Placer County residents currently commute to Sacramento State College and University of California at Davis for 45 minutes to an hour a half, according to the task force report.

"We need educational opportunities closer to home," Roznos said.

A private university could result in adding some 6,000 jobs - not including construction jobs - and about $436 million in annual output to the city's economy.

The existence of a new university could also attract businesses to relocate here and help shape a community identity, according to the report.

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Here's a look at some other items approved during the April 4 council meeting:

Sierra Vista Specific Plan litigation expense: Project litigation costs were incurred for the city's defense in the case of Ralph Martinez, et al. v. the city of Roseville. The parties settled the lawsuit and the case has been dismissed, but a budget adjustment is needed to pay outstanding bills. Sierra Vista Specific Plan landowners have agreed to reimburse the city's costs.

Environmental Utilities facilities lighting retrofit agreement: Environmental Utilities is partnering with Roseville Electric to retrofit lighting to currently available reduced wattage fluorescent lighting. Effective July 1, new federal standards will eliminate most commercially available T12 fluorescent lamps from the marketplace. The cost is not-to-exceed $31,318.

Lifepak 15 monitor/defibrillators purchase: The city will purchase 12 for $382,844, including installation, from Physio-Control. The equipment allows paramedics to send EKGs immediately to the hospital, to begin treatment during transport and to alert hospitals for critical interventions.

Microsurfacing project call for bids: A new pavement surface of hot mix asphalt microsurfacing will be applied to parts of Roseville Parkway and E. Roseville Parkway, beginning in July and ending September, for an estimated cost of $1.2 million funded with Gas Tax Funds.

Cape seal project call for bids: Neighborhood streets will be cape sealed, including portions of Ridgewood Oaks, Foothills Junction Center, Westwood Terrace and Vineyard Point Business Center. Construction will begin in July and be done by September for an estimated $850,000. About $750,000 of the cost is covered by Gas Tax Funds and $100,000 is from a grant for using recycled rubber tires.

Slurry seal project call for bids: A new pavement surface of hot mix asphalt slurry seal will be applied to various residential streets, including portions of Stoneridge East Village and Diamond Oaks neighborhoods and within the Pleasant Grove Wastewater Treatment Plant. Construction will begin in July and be completed by September for an estimated $700,000 funded with Gas Tax Funds and treatment plant operation money.

City Manager's office staffing changes: A recent audit recommended the need for separate public relations/public affairs functions in other departments, which led to the formation of a citywide communications redesign task force. The group determined the need for specialized support in eGovernment. The city will hire an analyst to help enhance online services, initiate mobile applications and integrate a customer relationship management application to the website to support the future launch of a 311 system. The fiscal impact is $2,597 for the remainder of fiscal year 2012.

Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant rehab project: Clarifiers need rehab and possible design modifications to replace aging mechanical equipment. The total budget is $3 million and Roseville's cost share of about 60 percent of the project is funded by the city's Rehabilitation Fund. The remaining 40 percent is shared by Placer County and South Placer Municipal Utility District.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.