Board Accommodates Student Parking

stephen-hotchkiss
el-vaquero-staff-writerSTEPHEN HOTCHKISS
El Vaquero Staff Writer<

After winning gold medals in both the interpretive poetry and prose categories Saturday and Sunday in the state forensic finals in Concord, Calif., students Robert Cannon and David Hale opened up Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting with their interpretation of James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Cannon and Hale will advance to the American Forensics Association’s national competition next weekend in Orlando, Fla. This is the first time in GCC history that the college will be represented at a national forensics tournament. The new forensics club, headed by GCC professors Jean Perry, Ira Heffler and Andrea Stark, has secured a place as a valuable and important facet of GCC’s extra-curricular program.

The forensics program initially suffered criticism due to budget concerns, said college president John Davitt. However, the recent success of the club has demonstrated to the trustees that there is a viable interest among GCC students regarding the art of formal argumentation.

Dismissing any previous criticism directed towards the club, college President John Davitt, praised the new club’s efforts. “We have proven,” said Davitt, “that we can have a forensics program here-that can compete with community colleges and other four-year institutions.”

The comedic performance of Cannon and Hale was followed by a presentation on alternative parking sources by college Police Chief Steve Wagg.

GCC is currently scheduled to commence the construction of additional parking facilities on April 6 and the trustees must ensure that daily life for students, faculty and staff is not disrupted during the 211-day construction process.

Larry Serot, Executive Vice President of Administrative Services, estimates that between 250 and 350 parking spaces will be lost in Lot B during the construction process. The proposed structure, a leveled platform located in Lot B, will require areas of the lot to temporarily close as the construction process ensues.

After months of deliberations Wagg and Serot have arrived at what Serot believes to be “the best plan” to accommodate both the budget and those affected by the loss of parking.

The initial proposed budget of $750,000 to accommodate students and staff affected by the loss of parking spaces has since been considerably whittled down to $549,765. The fear of losing revenue from students who would potentially drop out if the parking situation became further complicated has resulted in the decision to rely on employees to bear the brunt of the inconvenience. “We have decided,” said Serot, “to go with employees who work a traditional work day.”

The said employees are not faculty; they are, Wagg said, “classified management and staff” or individuals who have a specified and consistent work schedule. This is to accommodate for an off-campus shuttle service that will drive employees to and from campus. These off-campus parking sites and the shuttle service will be paid for by the school and will be located throughout the surrounding community area.

Selection for participants in the shuttle service will be based on seniority and will not factor in anyone who is routinely required to commute between the main and Garfield campuses.

Employees who take part in the shuttle program will be given a grace period of time to get to and from work as well as priority spaces in the new parking structure that will include an elevator.
With “students being a top priority” according to Wagg, many changes will be made to make the construction process as accommodating to students as possible; in fact, to make up for the lost 350 parking spots, over 405 spots will be made available to students.

First of all, the metered areas on Verdugo road will be considered campus parking and a valid parking permit will allow a student to park without having to be concerned with paying a meter. Lot 32 will also be granted to students, freeing up 125 spaces.

The remaining 280 parking spaces will come from what Wagg calls “stacked parking.”

This is essentially a valet system where the students leave their cars to be parked by a hired valet who will ‘stack’ the vehicles in a compact fashion. “It’s kind of like going to a fancy restaurant.” said Wagg.

According to Wagg, the down time that a student would experience when leaving the school and waiting for their car to be un-stacked, as it were, is “between 90 seconds and two minutes.” Lot B, Lot 34, Lot 32, Lot 31 and Lot 30 will employ this valet service free of charge to students.