The November 1990 passage of Ballot Measure 5, a statewide property tax limitation initiative, forced the college to make substantial budget cuts as the 1991-92 fiscal year budget reflected a $709,000 reduction in revenues. Steps taken to balance the budget included increasing tuition by $2 per credit hour, cutting the equivalent of 33 full-time positions and cancellation of more than 100 courses. With the new tuition, students contributed 19.4 percent of the cost of their education, still within the framework of the college's fair share philosophy of students paying 15 to 20 percent of the cost. Although the budget was balanced, the college continued to struggle with increasing demand for services with limited available resources.
The college commemorated its 25th anniversary in 1992. The Workforce Education Building, built with funds from a JOBS Program state grant, was dedicated in October of that year.
In June 1993 the LBCC Library switched to a computerized card file and online check-out system thanks to a Hewlett-Packard/Corvallis donation of an HP3000 Library System-valued at $46,150-and $70,000 from the Student Activities Programming committee.
In September 1993 the Family Resource Center completed an eight-month process to become the first day care center in Linn and Benton counties to be accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. The FRC met all the academy's standards, including a high level of parental involvement and having even more supervision than required by the state-in the FRC's case, three adults for every 10 children. At that time the FRC served 75 kids ages 2.5 to 5 years.
In November 1993 the LBCC Board approved a tuition increase of $4 per credit to take effect in January 1994 (raising tuition from $28 to $32 per credit). The Board anticipated a reduction in state funding after voters turned down a sales tax proposal (Measure 1) that would have instituted a 5 percent sales tax with revenue dedicated to public schools (K-12) and community colleges.
In 1994, voters passed a $11.6 million capital bond measure to fund building maintenance, remodeling and equipment upgrades. Installation of door ramps, an elevator and expansion of the math lab began at the Benton Center the next year.
In 1995, with grants from the state and from Wood Products Competitiveness Corporation, LBCC, Lane Community College and Central Oregon Community College began developing training systems for employees in Oregon's rapidly growing secondary wood products industry. At the time, the industry boasted 800 firms and 22,000 employees. Focusing on furniture, cabinetry, moldings, doors, windows and millwork, the industry sought improved training for workers in the latest technology and production techniques.
With property tax revenue still in decline due to Measure 5, in 1995 the Board approved another tuition increase, from $32 to $34, with future increases to take effect over the next two years, bringing the total to $37 a credit in 1998. Also in 1995, the Oregon State Board of Education approved a new Associate of Applied Science degree in Child and Family Studies.
Despite shrinking tax revenues, 1995 was a busy year for high technology developments and industrial training. In September, the college began work on becoming a "node" on the Internet and giving staff and students access to the information super highway. Installation of a $20,000 Sun Microsystems machine, a high-speed T-1 phone line from U.S. West and a $20,000 annual Internet service contract with Portland's RAINet completed the basic components of the system. Fiber optic cables, which had been installed between most buildings for the college's mainframe in 1990, provided a capacity for 1,000 Internet users.
The Health Occupations department created the Health Occupations/Services Education Center (HOSEC) to offer short-term health technology training workshops to local health professionals. The American Heart Association also certified LBCC as a CPR training center.
In April, the Training and Business Development Center began the Workplace Learning Network program in which employees complete self-paced computerized learning modules at their worksites. Workers study academic and basic skills, math, writing and problem solving at Oregon Freeze Dry, Willamette Industries' Albany paper mill and Teledyne Wah Chang.
In July, the college teamed up with Nypro Oregon, a plastics manufacturer with a new plant in Corvallis, to provide training and education for new employees, JOBS program participants and LBCC students.
In August, LBCC received a $50,000 grant from the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency to cooperatively develop a new electronics program with Hewlett-Packard over a two-year period. The high-tech industry was projected to become the state's biggest manufacturing industry by the end of the year, surpassing wood products and agriculture.
The LBCC Foundation concluded its November 1995 fund drive and, thanks to contributions from the staff and community, total assets soared past the $1 million mark.
In 1996, two new programs, computer user support and medical assistant, were inaugurated. That same year the nursing program celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The Schrock family donated 9.24 acres on Allen Lane for college use as a biological study area and wetland mitigation site for the neighboring Target Store Distribution Center. The donation was valued at $305,000.
The college celebrated its 30th anniversary in 1997. President Jon Carnahan created a Strategic Planning Council to make recommendations for the college's future. Thirty citizens from Linn and Benton counties met over six months and drafted 20 recommendations for the LBCC Board of Education. Also in 1997, the occupational skills program began.
In May 1998, LBCC and OSU created the dual enrollment and admission program, beginning first with students majoring in agricultural sciences, business and engineering and, by 1999, including all undergraduate majors. The college also entered into an agreement with the University of Phoenix, permitting it to use LBCC classrooms for evening business classes.
Construction began in 1998 on new offices in the Forum Building for Student Life and Leadership and the Commuter. Finished in 1999, the additions also included a recreation room, student lounge and Multicultural Center.
Late in 1998, Family Connections began the Lifespan Respite Care program to help Benton County residents find short-term relief from their care-giving responsibilities. The program was expanded to Linn County the next year.
The civil engineering technology program began in 1998, as well. In 1999, the veterinary technology program began as a short-term training program offered through the Training and Business Development Center.