College district to discuss controversial gym contractor

Canada College students and faculty fear that the proposed Kinesiology and Wellness building, shown here, will become a private athletic club.
Canada College students and faculty fear that the proposed Kinesiology and Wellness building, shown here, will become a private athletic club.

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

An attempt by the San Mateo County Community College District board to get an independent opinion about the contractor who runs the College of San Mateo’s gym and pool has gone nowhere, but an administrator is asking the board tonight (June 10) to extend the contractor’s contract anyway.

The board had requested in March that a third party conduct an analysis of the district’s partnership with contractor EXOS and see if the gym could be run in-house, run by another party, or if EXOS is indeed the best contractor for the job.

But because of COVID-19, and the havoc it has wreaked on the fitness industry, it’s been difficult to assess options or develop a “sufficient pool” of other gym operators who might want the job, said a report from Auxillary and Community Services Vice Chancellor Tom Bauer.

Because of the difficulties caused by COVID-19, Bauer proposes that the board extend EXOS’s contract for a year and do the study later.

The district’s board will discuss Bauer’s report tonight (June 10).

However, the district’s new gym at Canada College in Redwood City is set to open next year. At the March meeting, the board briefly discussed whether EXOS ought to run the new gym at Canada College.

New scrutiny has been brought to the Canada gym after more than a dozen students, teachers and residents spoke at and attended a November board meeting where they outlined their issues with the new gym and EXOS.

At the meeting, board member Richard Holober agreed with the members of the Kinesiology, Athletics and Dance Department members, saying that the project had been “hijacked.”

Department members at the November meeting 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 are reserved just for the private gym and 68,732-square feet will be shared by students and the athletic club members.

The concerns raised over the Canada gym are reminiscent of the controversy that engulfed the opening of a private health club at the CSM gym some 10 years ago. Residents at that time objected to use of tax dollars for a gym that was offering memberships to the community.

The college board will meet Wednesday (June 10) at 6 p.m. and the meeting can be live-streamed at https://smccd.zoom.us/j/95873594919

6 Comments

  1. Kudos to the current SMCCD Board members Maurice Goodman, Richard Holober and Dave Mandelkern for taking a stand and demanding change from the ways of the former administrator who once ruled the District. One would hope that the newly appointed Chancellor would want to prove himself as a leader who can make his own decisions, however it seemed like just more of the same as the new Chancellor Mike Claire appeared to try and push through contacts under the Board of a Trustees noses. Isn’t there an ongoing San Mateo County District Attorney’s investigation? Wouldn’t Claire want to be extra careful on pushing or pulling any antics? Taxpayers of San Mateo County unite. Student First is their mission statement, make the Board of Trustees stick ro it.

  2. I’m glad they are finally asking questions about the EXOS contract! SMCCD staff and faculty have been raising this concern for awhile, but it has been to deaf ears of administrators and Trustees. I’m glad the Board of Trustees seemed to finally do something about this issue. It’s a little late, but something is better than nothing. I hope voters in San Mateo County vote for NEW Board of Trustee members in the coming election in whichever district you are in. Out with the old and in with the new. Our colleges and county need leadership. Staff and faculty are disgusted by the behavior of our former Chancellor under DA Investigation. Please give us new leadership, the current system is failing. This is just the tip of the iceberg. BOARD OF TRUSTEES – DO. YOUR. JOB. PROVIDE THE NEEDED OVERSIGHT OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR THIS TAX PAYER FUNDED DISTRICT. YOU ARE FAILING IN YOUR SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY WHEN YOU LET THIS STUFF SLIDE. WE ARE PAYING ATTENTION!

  3. [Comment deleted – please only use one name for your comments on this thread. No sock puppets.]

  4. The Community College District Board of Trustees are doing their due diligence on this, not just going along with Distrust chancellor who sought to quietly extend the EXOS contract without the public even getting to see it.

  5. If you observe the workings of the SMCCCD administration, staff, and Board of Trustees, you will see that staff and administration often provide reports that fail to give the Trustees the true picture. I have tried to make the case repeatedly that staff reports concerning learning, achievement, and student outcomes are misleading. I have written to the Board and provided data – no response. I have commented at the Board and provided data – no response. Finally, I requested an opportunity to speak at the Board meeting on the subject as a private citizen as specified in the Board rules – No response. I wrote two more times over three months. Board President Schwarz, who Chancellor Claire told me sets the agenda, never even acknowledged my request, let alone providing time to address the Board. This is a form of censorship; silencing those who might not agree with the current orthodoxy or present data that might not conform to the image the Board wishes to project. While a financial auditor is required by state law, SMCCCD needs a data auditor to review its metrics because the staff does not tell it like it is and the Board may not want to know. But, the public has a right to know about its COMMUNITY college.–
    Michael B. Reiner, PhD, is a higher education consultant and educational researcher. Previously, he was a professor of psychology and college administrator at City University of New York (CUNY), Miami Dade College, the Riverside Community College District, and SMCCCD. He can be reached at mreiner32205@gmail.com

  6. Fellow taxpayers look at your property tax bills and see how much WE are paying!
    Is OUR hard earned money paying for classes, salaries to educate and develop our own faculty and staff, for our own custodial teams to clean and protect OUR buildings or to hire a third party hand selected out of State company? Or could it be paying the former-under investigation- Chancellors salary of $467,000 annually and other ineffective and expensive administrators who support a privately run fitness operation. Don’t WE have discipline experts of our own faculty, who hold Masters Degrees in these very fields of Health, Fitness, Kinesoilogy, etc,? Open your eyes when you open your propoerty tax bills.

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