BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
A member of the San Mateo County Community College District board agreed last night with a dozen students, teachers and residents in saying that the gym being built at Canada College is being taken over by a for-profit gym.
“We presented this building to the voters as a students first and centered building. It’s been hi-jacked,” Trustee Richard Holober said.
A group of members of the Kinesiology, Athletics and Dance Department voiced their concerns to the board about the new 105,916-square-foot gym being built at the Redwood City campus.
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.
Student Kyle Eliot said that while he is excited the new building is going up, he feels that the private club is the priority, not the students.
“It’s our campus. Students should be at the forefront,” Eliot said.
Another student, who only went by Vanessa, said she had gone to the gym at CSM, which has a private club associated with it, and she felt like a second-class citizen.
“Most of the premium spaces were for gym members and not students,” she said.
Head soccer coach and kinesiology professor Erik Gaspar and Assistant Professor Vera Quijano presented the concerns of their program, saying that because of all of the turnover in the administration at Canada, things have been left unsettled for five years.
Planning process criticized
Gaspar added that the professors feel there were disingenuous aspects of the planning process for the gym.
He pointed to meeting minutes between administrators who decided that the student locker rooms ought to be simple and get the job done, and the membership locker rooms to be “high-quality.”
Trustee Holober was met with cheers from the crowd after his hi-jacking comment, but trustees Karen Schwarz and Thomas Nuris were met with objections. Those two trustees were apprehensive that the athletics department at Canada would not settle for compromises, and would only be happy once they got the entire building.
A list of 13 items
Interim Chancellor Mike Claire said he had a list of 13 items that the athletic department wants to have settled, which he felt were all achievable.
Ultimately, Board President Maurice Goodman said he wants for Canada College President Jamillah Moore to work with the athletics department and district administration to make the needed changes in order to accomplish the 13 items.
Moore to return with more
Moore is expected to come back to the board at its Dec. 9 meeting with an update on where things are on the new building.
Goodman, Holober and Mandelkern all expressed interest in discussing some of the policies related to the shared gym, and hiring a dean for the athletics department, all which came up last night, but decided those topics could be handled after issues with the building, which is being built now, are dealt with first.