College Council considers strategies to counter parking upheaval
A community center is planned to showcase energy-saving technologies.
Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 15:07
College Council on July 10 learned about a new community center to educate the public on energy-saving technologies and discussed strategies for coping with a loss of parking spaces beginning in the fall semester because of construction projects.
The building at Main Avenue and Locust Street will see construction begin late this month or in early August and be completed in eight months, Tim Rockey, dean of continuing education training network, said.
“It is primarily designed to be a community center,” Rockey said, noting 51 percent of the building’s programming will be dedicated to the community for events such as public seminars.
The intent of the building is to educate people about sustainable energy and techniques to “retrofit their old homes,” Rockey said.
There will also be a demonstration site to show how the new technology works, Rockey said.
Rockey said the Air-Conditioning and Heating Engineers Association donated $25,000 to install solar panels.
The total cost is $970,000, but the college received a HSIAC grant worth $600,000 about a year and a half ago, he said.
The rest of the money is coming from the district, Rockey said.
He said the grant is paying for most of the construction, and the district is paying for the rest, such as parking.
“Our plan is that we’ll install those, and people can see how it’s done in an urban-type setting,”Rockey said. “We are excited about it because it’ll give us a chance to better connect with our community and show that we’re good neighbors.”
Other construction projects active in the fall semester are the Challenger Learning Center and remodeling of Scobee Planetarium, the Tobin Lofts public-private partnership on the southeast corner of campus, and the ongoing renovation of Moody Learning Center.
President Robert Zeigler said the bad news about construction is the displacement of parking spaces.
Zeigler asked the council to encourage students to take advantage of VIA Metropolitan bus passes.
VIA semester bus passes cost $35 for students with a college ID and are available in the business office in Room 201 of Fletcher Administration Center.
Public relations Director Vanessa Torres said she met with VIA representatives July 9 to “incentivize the use of public transportation.”
Torres said they are working on a promotion to inform students about public transportation.
Rockey said he is seeking nearby businesses to lend or lease parking spaces for student use.
Zeigler said if a distant parking lot is chosen, VIA shuttles would be a possibility.
Rockey said Alamo Stadium and the Finesilver Building, 816 Camaron St., allowed students and employees of this college to park there from January-December 2007 and ride a shuttle to campus during construction of the nursing complex and Susan R. and Jesse H. Oppenheimer Center.
Rockey said not many people used that resource because of the inconvenience.
“People are going to drive their car from where they live down here, have to park over there, and then wait for the bus to come over here,”Rockey said. “It seems like it makes a lot more sense to cut out that middle step.”
He said the college paid $4 per slot at Alamo Stadium for a total of 230 spaces, and the shuttles cost $30,000 a month.
Two shuttles ran from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
“I am going to admit that I am kind of running out of ideas,”Rockey said. “The good news is we are located right in the heart of downtown San Antonio. The bad news is we are located in the heart of San Antonio so there’s not a lot of available spaces.”
He said figuring out the parking situation is “going to be a serious challenge.”
Enrique Castillo, enrollment specialist and Staff Council president, asked if construction workers could park off campus and be shuttled in and out before and after work.
Zeigler said he would bring up that topic in the next construction meeting.
In other news, the council made a motion to approve college procedure P.3: Process for Application and Approval of Faculty Professional Development Credit Toward Promotion.
The procedure states faculty can move up one class level on the salary schedule if they complete 12 semester credit hours or 38.4 continuing education unit or equivalent credits in a satisfactory manner.
At least half must be course or CEU credits in the teaching discipline; the other half may be in the field of education.
There were two modifications to the procedure, one was 12 semester credit hours or 38.4 CEU credits must be completed in a satisfactory manner, rather than accomplished in a satisfactory manner.
The other modification was that the chairs and deans will get a copy of all pre- and post-approval paperwork.
This procedure does not alter the district policy for professional development credit toward advancement.
In other news, the council discussed virtual and on-campus office hours.
Zeigler said the college executive team decided faculty should be required to have 10 office hours on campus.
There are a lot of people who teach online, but the majority of them also teach on campus, Zeigler said.
“That doesn’t mean the use of your computer is forbidden,” Zeigler said. “It just means that we prefer those 10 hours be on campus.”
Zeigler said faculty is expected to give advising or mentoring to students whether or not the students are in their classes.
He also said professors should expect to be available to students at times in addition to their office hours.
“There is no reason why some of your virtual hours could not be on campus during that 10 hour time, and that’s fine. If you want to be available both ways, that’s OK, too,” Zeigler said.
Zeigler said the council will have a full discussion on this topic at the next meeting.
The next College Council meeting will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 11 in Room 120 of the visual arts center.