• An interior of a building

      The L Building at PCC (Photo – F. Qiu)

      At the May 8, 2024, PCC Board of Trustees meeting, Assistant Superintendent/Vice President Candace Jones and consultants HGA updated the trustees on the Facilities Master Plan update, which intends to respond to new enrollment trends and address utilization and seismic issues with PCC’s buildings, as explained at the last month’s Board of Trustees meeting.

      By News Desk

      HGA consultants created the original 215-page PCC Facilities Master Plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in May 2020, at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic.

      At last week’s meeting, the consultants told the Board that they are looking at how to best use the $565M funds available from the Measure PCC bond issue, which PCC district voters approved in November 2022. Before their presentation, there was an opportunity for public comment.

      Public comment

      Professors and students expressed concerns about the demolition of multiple buildings on campus rather than repurposing or repairing them. They also expressed their concerns with transparency, and the process the college is taking to gather input and present data.

      Library and Harbeson Hall

      An art history student told the board that not all questions posed from the information sessions the week prior had been addressed. He also questioned the need to demolish PCC’s original library building that opened in 1949. “I could never in good conscience call for its demolition, given its historical roots spanning over 70 years.” The L-building and Harbeson Hall were designed by local architectural firm Bennett and Bennett. It is on the Pasadena Heritage Advocacy Watchlist.

      W Building

      The W building is also being considered either for possible demolition or repair. It serves as the home to the dance and community activity classes, like yoga and cross training.  A dance student said the single replacement classroom for the dance program, whether temporary or permanent, was “inadequate” with respect to the classroom’s size and type of flooring available.  She said the conclusions in that evening’s evening’s posted Powerpoint presentation were not well founded, and that if the college undercuts the program by not offering adequate studios, dance students may stop attending the college.

      Several dance professors also spoke: full-time professor Cheryl Banks-Smith read a letter from a former dance student. It read, “At 36 I’ve been a professional dancer in Wicked on Broadway for the last 10 years, and I owe a huge part of my success to the teachers and dance studios I grew up in.”   The W building, built in 1961 as PCC’s Women’s Gym, currently has two large dance studios with different types of flooring.

      Part-time Dance Professor Jeff Hendricks said his students’ “number one concern is about transparency,” and that questions remain unanswered, like why classes are being removed from W and what needs to be done to the W, and he offered suggestions on converting indoor and outdoor spaces in the building for more uses, such as for a pilates lab.

      Faculty from the Kineseology Division told the Board they do not want to lose the W building space they use to house athletic equipment.

      Natural Sciences professors spoke, urging the Board of Trustees to utilize the PCC Bond money for a new STEM Life Sciences Building because the Science Village  bungalows have reached their end of life.

      a building with greenery

      Pasadena City College (Photo – pasadena.edu)

      Board of Trustee Responses

      During the presentation, VP Candace Jones described the campus information sessions since April 25 and next steps. Jones told the Board that at the June 18, 2024 Board of Trustees meeting, she will return with a “projects menu list” at which point she will include dates, costs and sequencing, and what is informing the update-document.

      HGA talked about sustainability considerations, space projections and parking calculations. The Board of Trustees then spent a few minutes expressing their thoughts.

      Trustees Alton Wang and Ryan Liu, of the Altadena and Rosemead districts respectively, expressed interest in getting the data associated with the draft of the update. Trustee Liu, a former PCC student, asked to see cost evaluations and comparisons, and a temporary timeline if dance students are to be relocated.

      Both Trustee Steve Gibson of the northwest Pasa-Altadena area and Trustee Tammy Silver of the central Pasadena area, showed interest in environmental sustainability. Trustee Silver requested that a carbon assessment be done.

      Trustee Sandra Chen Lau, whose area covers Pasadena east of Lake and La Canada-Flintridge, read an email from a student several years ago who disapproved of the Board’s removal of the screen printing-graphics program. As she had done at the April 10 board meeting, she expressed support for the arts, dance and culture programs at the college.

      Trustee James Aragon responded that it can be “painful when [programs] are eliminated” and likewise “tear[ing] down old buildings”.  Nevertheless, he spoke in favor of demolishing the “L” building, which houses student services, to construct a larger, three-story building for student services, including offices for more academic counselors. Aragon, himself an academic counselor who was on staff at PCC for 26 years, represents the northeast area of Pasadena and Altadena.

      He also inquired about how programs that use the W building will be affected and where they will be placed. VP Candace Jones said that information will be shared at the June 18th board meeting. She said, “our intention is to have one or two” community forums, that the neighbors committee that meets with her quarterly will also be invited, and they will “work on the best strategies” to publicize them.

      > Watch the entire May 8, 2024, PCC Board Meeting:

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