By Abraham Davis
Administration officials are moving forward with a “reboot” of the Facilities Master Plan, a 10-year roadmap for facilities projects, and is in the final selection process of recommending a firm for program management teams.
At the Feb. 22 board of trustees meeting, Rueben Smith, interim vice chancellor of facilities, said two teams had been shortlisted for a second-level interview. “We went through the first level of interviews, and now we have a couple firms we are going to take to the second level and hopefully bring a recommendation to the board next month.”
The college hired previously tBP Architecture to take on the task of creating the master plan.
At the board of trustees meeting on Aug. 24, 2017, Chancellor Mark Rocha said, “The reboot has nothing to do with disregarding the previous plan but to double check we had done our transparency work, and the entire campus is aware of it.”
But in a facilities committee meeting on Feb. 26, committee members raised questions about the existing plan.
“What is our Facilities Master Plan right now? No one really knows,” said committee member Shawn Yee. “What iteration it is? What are we working from right now?”
“It’s been long enough now that none of us remember when we were updated with that plan,” said committee co-chair Steven Brown.
Committee member Madeline Mueller said when tBP last presented a draft of the plan to the facilities committee, “it was done in this room, and we were told not to make any comments.”
Brown said tBP requested feedback in the form of an online Google Form, “but the form did not allow anything more than what they were looking for.” The format was extremely time-consuming, taking 45 minutes to an hour to fill out a single page, he said. “There was no way I was going to continue with it.”
The draft plan presented by tBP was also produced when assumptions about the school’s future were very different than today, Mueller said. “The mantra was to ‘right-size’ the school, which was to make it smaller,” she said. “So having a plan based on that foundation is pretty problematic.”
When the plan was presented to the board of trustees, “it was like, WTF?” said committee member Athena Steff, “because a lot of people at the [board meeting] hadn’t seen that version at all.”
tBP had presented “a plan that was going to take 40 years, and not a 10-year plan,” Brown said. “Rocha wanted us to focus on the five major things we could get done in 10 years.”
“I think you’re hearing a low-level of trust for tBP,” said committee member Vicki Legion. “Numerous things have been discussed numerous times and never appeared in the plan. It was like, whose plan is this?”
Because of all the confusion over the existing draft plan, committee alternate Wendy Miller said, “I really felt like the reboot was really a reset.”
Smith suggested having tBP present the current draft plan to the committee again, to explain their methodology and have an open Q&A, and the committee agreed.
“Are we bound to work with tBP on a continuous basis even though the trust is weak?” asked Legion.
“We’re the client, we can choose,” Smith said, but added that he “didn’t think we’re there yet.”
“We don’t have to be tied exactly to what is presented to you,” he added. “It isn’t gospel.”