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|Kentfield:College of Marin Board Decides on GateWay project|
|Date||Tuesday January 19|
|Time||6:30 PM - 6:30 AM|
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IF YOU GO: The College of Marin Board of Trustees will discuss whether to move forward with the proposed Gateway complex during a 6:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday at the Deedy Staff Lounge of the Student Services Building, 835 College Ave. in Kentfield.
time length is a joke im sure they'll be done by midnight
|davidquinley [at] aol.com|
|Phone||415 479 1888|
College of Marin ready to decide on controversial building plans
By Rob Rogers
Posted: 01/15/2010 05:45:03 PM PST
College of Marin officials will vote Tuesday on whether to move forward with the proposed Gateway project, scale it down or abandon it altogether.
The college Board of Trustees met Friday to discuss their options for the controversial project, which would replace four academic buildings and serve as the entrance to a redesigned Kentfield campus. The Gateway would be the last in a series of new buildings constructed using $249.5 million in bond funds that voters approved in 2004.
"While the College of Marin is known for having some of the worst facilities in the state, it's also known for having one of the best academic programs in the state," said V-Anne Chernock, who heads the building program as the college's director of modernization. "The need to maintain that program is paramount."
While the Gateway project had appeared to be a fait accompli as late as November 2009, it has drawn criticism from some trustees and community members, who believe the bond money would be better spent on repairing the college's older buildings. Some have argued that the state's refusal to provide additional funding for the project makes it too expensive for the college district.
"Before you open up another hole in the ground, do what that bond money was supposed to do: modernize and upgrade the existing system," drama instructor David White told the board.
Yet others say the Gateway is an essential fix for a crumbling college.
"The Harlan Center has no accessible
offices for the disabled on the second floor. Olney Hall is a nightmare," said Sara McKinnon, an instructor at the school for 28 years. "All of these buildings are at a major risk of being destroyed in an earthquake. Not to replace them would be irresponsible."
The college estimates the Gateway would cost $33.6 million to build, including $17.5 million drawn from remaining bond funds and another $16.1 million in leftover cash. Officials say that's money they've saved thanks to lower-than-expected bids on other construction projects.
Repairing the four buildings the 48,000-square-foot Gateway would replace would cost only $28.9 million. However, Chernock said doing so would cause significant construction delays, and could require additional - and costly - environmental reports.
"It's probably due to the recession that we've been able to get these things built" at a lower cost, said Bill Scott, chairman of the college's bond oversight committee. "By delaying this project even one year, you could be looking at 15 to 20 percent higher costs."
Another possibility, Chernock said, would be for the college to replace three of its buildings with a smaller, 21,000-square-foot version of the Gateway and repair the Harlan Center, the least dilapidated of the buildings to be replaced. That project would be about $600,000 cheaper than the original Gateway plan, but could also require additional planning and construction delays, Chernock said.
In addition, deciding not to go ahead with the Gateway project could require the college to reconvene its district modernization committee, one of the organizations that called for the project during six years of community meetings and design conferences.
College President Frances White made it clear she continues to support the project.
"Do you want a taqueria to continue to be the entrance to an institution that is in the top five of 73 community college districts in California in academic transfers?" asked White, referring to a restaurant on campus property that would be torn down if the Gateway is built. "Given what we know today, the (Gateway) option is the only one that matches up with the academic potential of the College of Marin."
Trustee Barbara Dolan made her opposition just as clear.
"We are on track for major destruction," Dolan said. "I see the loss of our historical fabric, rare trees being torn up and quaint and funky buildings torn down because someone decided they were unrepairable. We're already overbuilt. Why do we want to add even more buildings?"
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