The New Addition - A Functioning Reality on Schedule!
by Marcia Walerstein-Sibony, Guild Garfield Campus Steward
It’s here! Mariposa is up and running pretty well. Not a butterfly, it is the new, large and totally up-to-date addition at the Garfield Campus. The ribbon cutting ceremony was August 23, and since then it’s been active, even if it is a work in progress.
In this issue I wish to write about the new building as a reality, and since those that are teaching Office Business Technology and Basic Skills stand to gain the most from the new building, I’ve asked for comments from the faculty in those departments. Rosemarie Shamieh has kindly contributed her enthusiasm. Here are her comments:
Thanks to Measure G funds, today we are fortunate to stand in a new, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)certified “green” three-story addition that expands and upgrades the original Garfield campus by 38,000 square feet.
The $22.8 million three-story new addition, dubbed Mariposa, houses multiple level-3 classrooms, several offices, a very large computer lab, a bookstore, a huge career center and a versatile community room that creatively opens up to our new Palm Court—morphing itself into a venue for large activities, a center for testing, meetings, classrooms, even into two dining areas for faculty and students. The new campus also incorporates a beautifully inviting child care center and much needed additional parking.
This three stage project, a design/build concept that included temporary classrooms during construction, was orchestrated with very little, if any, disruption to instruction. For a project of this magnitude to be on time and on budget speaks volumes about the team of dedicated professionals that made it all happen. Aesthetically, the campus is so incredibly well conceived that if you didn't know what it looked like before the construction, you wouldn't be able to determine which is the old building.
Regarding the new classrooms: they are spectacular! The classrooms are spacious, filled with natural light, conducive to interactive lectures and coursework, high tech and extremely comfortable. You can tell a lot of thought went into the building's design, comfort, and aesthetics—no detail left to chance.
Many thanks to Dr. Karen Holden-Ferkich, Alfred Ramirez, Bill Taylor, Earl Corporation and Rachlin Architects, the south Glendale community, and the Garfield community: faculty, staff, students, and neighbors who pitched in when needed to make this decade-long vision a beautiful reality.
Regarding operational issues: it's no secret that with change come adjustments. (Remember the first time you went away to college, your first marriage, your first child, your first job….) Of course there are operational issues but nothing that can't be resolved with cooperation and time.
I can tell you first hand that any issue we've brought to Alfred and/or Karen regarding the new campus has been given their immediate attention. It might not seem that way at first because we don't know what additional concerns are on their to-do list, but it gets handled. They are reasonable and caring professionals who prioritize their agenda and have never lost sight of what's important: safety, students, personnel and the business of education. Case-in-point: Alfred's informational meeting on September 22—a formal venue for open dialogue, so that we could all be privy to the issues at hand and where they stand in the queue.
The following section is based on my own observations and discussions with other faculty, mainly in the ESL department:
All ESL classrooms now have computers (most of them functioning as this is being written), and ELMOs, which are a great help in teaching ESL.
As for a work in progress, certain issues came up which have transformed what was a relatively simple process into a time-consuming endeavor. At the moment, keys have become a problem. Adjunct faculty no longer have keys to their classrooms, workroom, or the staff restroom. In the past, ESL faculty had access to the Internet, lounge and duplicating all in one location. Now the lounge is on the ground floor of the new building, and the copy machine is still where it used to be on the second floor, along with the fridge and microwave, in a room that barely holds three people. The mailroom has no copy machine, and the space that was to be used for the new central lounge/work area is now occupied by something else. In fact, the business department has no staff service or work area at all in the evening. This makes the 20-minute break a breathless race between buildings and then back again, to return keys, copy, and nibble on something.
A number of safety issues also caused concern, especially traffic and also emergency response (such as uncovering a grenade from W. W. II on the property). In a meeting with our new Police Chief, Gary Montecuollo, we were assured that one of his first objectives would be to create a comprehensive emergency evacuation plan, with regular drills.
Another issue of major concern is enrollment, particularly in the business and computer classrooms. Some chalk this up to the maddening PeopleSoft errors of last year; this year’s lack of on-site registration in the spring and summer, due to construction; and the restricted summer programs. Even for those who knew how to register, it was not easy; several needed more basic help than that. No point dwelling on the past, but please help get the word out. In this time of fewer credit classes, with people begging to get into a class, the non-credit division has room in its computer classes and possibly others, too.
The September 22 informational meeting covered these issues. Hopefully, the open dialogue, along with the understanding that there are real limitations to being able to solve everything at once, can enable us to fix those problems considered immediate and to be patient, but persistent, in solving the rest.
For those of you on the main campus: You all come on down to south Glendale and see what GCC is offering here at our new Garfield Campus, and tell your neighbors about us, too.
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