Modesto Junior College President Richard Rose has decided to place a student services building near the east campus arts building, steering designs away from construction in a popular grassy quad.
Rose made the decision Wednesday after a Tuesday forum with about 50 attendees and project architects. Several students, staff members and instructors asked questions and made comments about seven options and others that hadn't been considered.
Despite concerns of blocking natural sunlight from the arts building and destroying a memorial, Rose chose the land just north of the arts building.
After talks with architects, Rose concluded there was enough space between the arts building and the planned student services project to avoid noise, smell and heat complications from arts, music and ceramics programs. The memorial spot will remain. The location exploits student foot traffic from Founders Hall and the student center.
Discussion at the Tuesday workshop broke down a few times with people talking over others or snickering. They argued about where to place a building that centralizes all or most student services, from financial aid to registration.
Initial plans put the building in the grassy quad as an addition to the administration building. Other options included south of the science building; east of the science building; and on West Campus, southwest of Yosemite Hall.
Pros and cons included the cost of redrawing designs, student accessibility, parking, aesthetics and removal of trees. Rose estimated the project has lost about six months.
Funding is from the Yosemite Community College District's Measure E, the $326 million in school bonds approved by voters in 2004. Of MJC's $220 million share, $16 million is set aside for the student services project.
David Geer, a member of the Measure E Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, attended the forum. He told the crowd he wanted to give the audience a million-dollar wake-up call, that many community members see the constant debating and changing of minds as a waste of taxpayer money.
Staff member Wes Parker showed a video and slideshow urging people to save the quad, which earned applause from the audience. Many students and instructors didn't want the quaint quad destroyed by the structure, but they wanted it close to the library, student center and Founders Hall.
At the end of the forum, a straw poll was taken. The favorite choices for the building were the quad or a plot near College Avenue and the science building.
Administrators and students say a one-stop student services center would help decrease the number of students who drop out because of frustration or confusion and increase accessibility, though no research has been done on the issue.
Some forum participants inquired about building on the west campus, but MJC doesn't have a plan for how to efficiently and effectively use the separate campuses.
Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2339.