Measure E allocations set priority

District gives additional funds to upgrade campus

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-in-chief

Voters in Contra Costa County barely passed Measure E on June 3 of last year by a vote of 57.8 to 42.2 percent, with 55 percent needed for passage.

And as a result, the Contra Costa Community College District was provided with $450 million in general obligation bonds, but is limited to only using it to renovate or demolish aged facilities and for infrastructure projects.

Director of Business Services Mariles Magalong said the district allocated $84.4 million to Contra Costa College, $182.1 to Diablo Valley College, $83 million to Los Medanos College, $85.5 million districtwide and $15 million for the District Office.

But some coaches, faculty and administrators in the kinesiology and athletic departments are not pleased with the way in which the allocation was divided among the colleges.

“(The allocation) is a concern,” Comet men’s basketball coach Miguel Johnson said. “We think the students in our area deserve quality facilities as much as any other student at other campuses in the district.

“I don’t think the district takes our area into consideration and over the years (CCC) has been treated like the unwanted stepchild of the district when it comes to funding.”

District Chief Facilities Planner Ray Pyle said originally the allocation metric would have provided CCC with only $61 million in funding due to its smaller Full-Time-Equivalent-Student (FTES) enrollment and campus size.

Chancellor Helen Benjamin said FTES is the metric by which the state apportions funding based on resident students.

One FTES is equal to one or more students who are enrolled in 15 units.

Dr. Benjamin said due to the conditions of the buildings at CCC “it would not make sense” to base the allocation of funds on that.

“(DVC) is a bigger facility. It’s larger (than CCC) and was built around the same time,” she said.  “And that in the last bond, Measure A (2002-2006), CCC got a huge amount more and it doesn’t have as many buildings as DVC.”

Pyle, however, said DVC’s and LMC’s allocations are both based on FTES and no adjustments were made to their allocation recommendation for Measure E funds. 

“(In the July 23, 2014) board report, it was initially broken down by FTES,” he said. “But adjustments had to be made for CCC and money was taken from the district FTES allocation and was given to CCC.

He said this was done about two months ago after the district hired Fyoog, an architectural consultant contractor based out of Austin, Texas, to visit each of the campuses in the district to evaluate the “critical needs” of the facilities.

According to a Bond Project List (2014) compiled by the district, Measure E funds will be used  to either construct or modernize a new Science and Allied Health Center, or modernize the Gym Annex Building, Gymnasium, Men’s and Women’s locker rooms and other physical education/athletic facilities.

“One of the biggest challenges is deciding whether we do renovations to existing buildings or demolish and replace them,” Pyle said. “And how do we try to do these projects while also making sure the least amount of disruption on campus is a big thing.”

Interim President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said the estimated budget of CCC’s portion of the Measure E funding for these two areas on campus is $60 million for renovation or demolition of the old Biology and Physical Science buildings and only $22 million for the PE complex.

Pyle confirmed the allocation, but said it is subject to change during the next couple of weeks as he and representatives from Fyoog will be meeting with campus leaders and architects to further evaluate the needs of buildings.

Faculty from the kinesiology and athletic departments met Thursday to discuss the viable options and their vision for the future of the Gym complex.

Kinesiology department Chairperson Beth Goehring said she would like to completely revamp the GA Building, Men’s and Women’s locker rooms and add a third building that would act as a study space for student athletes on campus near the Tennis Courts.

Mehdizadeh said that with the current scope of the budget, renovations to the first two buildings are on the list, but adding a third building will likely not happen and the allocation was based off CCC’s Facilities Master Plan under the leadership of former college president McKinley Williams. 

Athletic Director John Wade said he would like to see more transparency in the decisions made by administration at CCC and the district considering how much funding DVC is getting compared with this campus.

“DVC and LMC are our sister schools, but unfortunately they are still our competition when it comes to enrollment,” Wade said.

“It’s unacceptable that (the district) tells us to beef up enrollment every year but doesn’t give us the funds so we can.”