BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The San Mateo County Community College District Board on Wednesday (Nov. 20) will hear from students and teachers at Canada College who are worried that a new gym at the Redwood City college is going to be taken over by a private company.
A portion of the 105,916-square-foot gym will be used exclusively by a private athletic club, similar to an arrangement that got the college district in trouble in 2011 at College of San Mateo.
According to plans for the Canada project, 25,685-square feet are reserved for academic space, 11,379-square feet is reserved just for the private gym and 68,732-square feet will be shared by students and the athletic club members.
It’s estimated that there will be some 9,000 club members compared to the 2,000 or so students in the Kinesiology, Athletic and Dance Department at Canada College.
In 2011, the San Mateo County civil grand jury said the college district didn’t inform the public of its plans to build essentially a private athletic club when it went to voters for the approval of a $468 million bond measure.
Similarly, the Canada College gym is also being built by bond measure money that will also benefit a private health club.
A letter from a group of faculty at Canada College, which was read to the board at its Sept. 25 meeting, implies that because of the private club being added to the gym, the Kinesiology, Athletic and Dance Department has been pushed out.
The letter states that because of the lack of space given to the athletic department, there is a possibility that the college could have problems with Title IX compliance down the road. Title IX is the federal law protecting gender equality at federally funded schools.
Concerns from teachers date back to at least 2016 over the lack of bleachers, not enough space for certain activities, lack of room for sports to grow and the locker rooms being too small.
Teachers from the Kinesiology, Athletic and Dance Department met with construction consultants for the college district in winter 2016 and again this fall, to provide input, ask questions and try to work out problems related to the building.
One of the problems that repeatedly shows up in meeting minutes between faculty and consultants with the district is the size of the locker rooms.
According to plans for the project, the locker rooms for the private club are 1,843 and 2,732 square feet, while the student locker rooms are each 195 square feet.
In meeting minutes from an Oct. 28 meeting between faculty and consultants, it is mentioned that the locker rooms at one point were 2,000-square feet.
It is also repeated in meeting minutes from this year that the Athletics Department at the college needs one more team meeting room in order to provide enough space for all of the college’s sports teams.
After the board heard the letter from the faculty on Sept. 25, it requested the item be brought back so it could be discussed.
The board will hear about the concerns by Canada’s faculty at its 6 p.m. Wednesday meeting at 3401 CSM Drive in San Mateo.