Is bigger always better?
To the naked eye, GCC has developed by leaps and bounds. The campus has a new bookstore, a beautiful Plaza Vaquero, and the Cimmarusti Science Center is in the works.
Enrollment is up by 11 percent from last year; we now have 1,643 more students. The regular 18-week semester has been shortened to 16 weeks to make room for a winter session that is aimed to help students take more courses in less time.
Yes, GCC has grown and continues to do so, but is that growth hindering the quality of education?
Parking has always been a bane to students’ lives, but this semester it only got worse. The current construction facilitated a need for parking for construction workers and GCC lost faculty parking at the gas station across the street. As a result, 28 student parking spots have been taken away to compensate for the lost faculty parking. Where are the 1,643 additional parking spots to accommodate the students?
The shuttle service only ran for the first six weeks of the semester, and to date, the only solution that has been suggested is a $17 million parking structure proposed to be built beneath the football practice field. This parking structure proposal is part of the Facilities Master Plan of 1992, aimed to accommodate the college’s growth to 20,000 students; enrollment this year is about 17,000. When and if this proposal will go through, no one really knows. A realistic solution is to make the shuttle service available to students all year.
Along with parking, the master plan includes an Allied Health/Aviation Arts building and a Physical Education Complex. Additional classrooms in the Auditorium have also been proposed. It would be nice to give the GCC Nursing Program a home. The Aviation Arts area definitely needs to look a little more attractive and the Physical Education area needs updating.
Most importantly, GCC needs additional classrooms. There is always a last minute mix-up when it comes to classroom assignments in the beginning of the semester. However, it is worrisome to find out that 14 English classes had to be cancelled this semester because GCC does not have enough classrooms to hold them in. It is also silly, to say the least, to have English classes held in Biology labs, Art buildings, or P.E. trailers. GCC may be better off renting offices in downtown corporate buildings; it will not be the first time a school has done so to accommodate its students.
Classes resumed in the Chemistry/Math building, but how focused can students be in class when they have to hear the loud racket from the construction work nearby?
Administrators would be doing students a great service by moving administrative offices in the Administration building to the CM building, and opening up the latter offices for quieter, and therefore, more learning-friendly classrooms.
Certainly, a year-round shuttle service and a switch of offices are more viable solutions to the current conditions rather than expensive projects that are more likely to be turned down by the city and its residents.
GCC is growing by leaps and bounds, but the administrators need to keep in mind the direct effect growth has on the students and the main goal of providing high quality education.