There’s a silver lining in GCCCD budget and enrollment cuts: unimpeded construction

GROSSMONT COLLEGE (Press Release)–It’s summertime but the living is anything but easy at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, where building crews will take advantage of reduced traffic to tackle $38 million in construction projects.

If there is an upside to budget woes significantly reducing summer enrollment, it is that the colleges are able to do construction jobs with less worry about disrupting classes or taking up parking spaces.

Reduced state funding has forced the colleges to cut by half the number of course sections offered this summer compared to last year. At Grossmont College, summer class sections have been cut from 210 in 2010 to 113 this year. Cuyamaca is offering 44 course sections this summer compared to 88 a year ago.  With fewer classes, enrollment has also been cut in half – about 3,100 students are attending Grossmont this summer and about 1,200 are at Cuyamaca.

“The state budget crisis has deeply crippled our ability to serve students who are having to put their futures on hold, frustrated over not being able to get the classes they want,”  said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “Nevertheless, we must continue to strive forward and take on these critical renovation and maintenance projects to meet current and future needs. We all pray that sooner, rather than later, the economy and state finances will improve and students will return to once more see the robust offering of classes they have come to expect.”

Tim Flood, vice president of administrative services at Grossmont, said the college has embarked on its busiest construction schedule to date, with projects including:

  • Renovation of the student center and administrative services buildings
  • Remodeling of auditorium and large lecture halls with tiered seating
  • Installation of gates at three entry points along the campus’ perimeter road
  • A computerized irrigation management system to conserve water
  • Replacing lawn areas with drought-tolerant native plants in different climatic zones that will also be used to educate students about water conservation methods
  • Perimeter road repair
  • Campus-wide  roof repair

“We are taking advantage of the campus slowdown to get the work done during a time that is least impacting to students,” Flood said, adding that most of the work is expected to be completed by the time fall classes begin Aug. 22.

The projects are being funded by Proposition R, the $207 million facilities bond measure approved by voters in 2002, and the college’s budgeted capital outlay funds. The largest of the construction projects is the remodel and expansion of the student services complex and the student center, a $36 million project due for completion this winter.

At Cuyamaca College, public works projects planned for the summer include repairs to damaged asphalt in parking lots 1 and 2 and the interior wall covering removal and painting in the learning resource center.

A month-long project to open up a pedestrian-only roadway in front of the Communication Arts building to allow for through traffic is scheduled to begin in October. Opening up the roadway will improve the flow of traffic entering the campus from Fury Lane and allow for a more direct access to the upper campus parking lots.

The project will also include some changes to the median separating parking lots 1 and 2 and to provide access routes for students and visitors from the parking lots to the front of the Communication Arts building.

“To those who might ask why we are making capital improvements at a time of reduced enrollment, it’s important to understand that the Proposition R monies were approved by voters on the promise that the funds would be used strictly for construction, expansion and remodeling of buildings – not for more instructors and class sections, as much as they are needed,” Governing Board President Bill Garrett said.

Preceding was provided by Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District