NOVEMBER 6, 2003
An executive session and community listening session of the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board was scheduled to be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Sun Lakes Education Center in Sun Lakes, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Ed Contreras, President
Linda Rosenthal, Secretary
Nancy Stein, Member
Don Campbell, Member
ABSENT - Gene Eastin, Member
Janet Gesin for Ron Bleed
Ron Etter for Larry Christiansen
Jane Saldana-Talley for Paul Dale
Kay Martens for Ken Atwater
I. EXECUTIVE SESSION
President Ed Contreras called the executive session to order at 2:00 p.m. The executive session concluded at 2:45 p.m.
II. LISTENING SESSION
President Contreras commented that because the Governing Board felt it important to maintain open communication, they were present this afternoon continuing a year-long series of public meetings called Community Listening Sessions. He stated that the Governing Board was pleased to be at the Sun Lakes Education to hear from those in attendance and know what was being done right, what could be improved upon, and what might be considered for the future. The listening session was ninth in a series of eleven public meetings scheduled through the end of the year on MCCCD college campuses. After all meetings have been held, a comprehensive report will be prepared to report on new directions for the future.
President Contreras introduced members of the Board and Chancellor Dr. Rufus Glasper.
Dr. Glasper took the opportunity to welcome everyone present and stated it was exciting to look at the different areas that the Maricopa Community Colleges have a presence in. He spoke about his own personal move from Mesa to South Chandler and that he was amazed at the growth explosion taking place in this part of the Valley. In addition to the growth already experienced in both credit and non-credit students, Dr. Glasper mentioned that this year a 5% growth was anticipated. He mentioned that full-time enrollment was growing more than headcount because people were taking more classes. Dr. Glasper spoke about the strategic planning process just completed and that the Maricopa Community Colleges were interested in positioning themselves with the space which may be needed to accommodate the growth expected to take place. In the last ten years 1.6 million square feet was added and that it has been determined that 1.5 million square feet is needed for the next 7-10 year period. Dr. Glasper also spoke about the alliance which has been entered into with Arizona State University to accommodate simultaneous enrollment and the ability to take up to 90 credits at the community college level which are able to be transferred to ASU.
The Listening Session proceeded as follows:
Chandler-Gilbert Community College President Maria Hesse
President Hesse thanked everyone for their presence at the Sun Lakes Education Center Listening Session and also to the Barbershop Quartet, Strictly Vintage, for the entertainment provided. She provided an overview of the Chandler-Gilbert Community College history and its charge to serve the Southeast Valley at three current locations (Pecos Campus, Williams Gateway, and the Sun Lakes Education Center). She pointed out that the Sun Lakes Education Center came into being with the completion of construction in 1997 and has been providing classes since the Fall of that year. She spoke about the variety of classes offered through their NAILS (New Adventures in Learning for Seniors) Program which provided both professional and personal development opportunities for the many seniors living in this community. She stated that because of the growing population, space in the existing center was being outgrown but that the structure allowed for a second level.
Lionel Diaz, Manager, Facilities and Planning Development
Mr. Diaz provided an overview of the 1994 Bond Election's impact in which voters passed a $386 million bond for the Maricopa Community College District. He commented that with this past initiative the colleges had drawn up a list of projects they wanted to be accomplished. As the projects were reviewed ten years later and checked off, the results show that what had been accomplished were accessible, affordable education, job training, customized instruction, technical courses and retraining in safe and secure environments.
At the Sun Lakes Education Center 5,223 square feet of space was constructed and was being used for classes, computer labs, and offices. Mr. Diaz stated that the building was designed to accommodate the construction of a second level. Furniture and fixtures were purchased, as well as the infrastructure and utilities.
Mr. Diaz commented that in view of the fact that the Maricopa Community Colleges had delivered on the past bond initiative as promised, it was hoped that this would provide confidence that they would deliver again in the future.
Invited Community Speakers
Ms. Charlotte Patterson, President, Governing Board, Chandler Unified School District
Ms. Patterson spoke about her move from North Dakota and her subsequent involvement with the Chandler School Board. She spoke about her first impressions with the Sun Lakes Community when she set up a card table at the local Bashas to have people sign her petitions to run for the school board. She said she found people to be pretty grouchy, however, had a change of mind after speaking to someone from Sun Lakes and then moving to Sun Lakes. After having co-founded NAILS (New Adventures in Learning for Seniors), she has discovered that Sun Lakes residents share a fanatic love of personal history and learning and growing in increasing their knowledge. People in Sun Lakes give and receive through activities and would welcome the addition of a second floor at the Sun Lakes Center.
Mr. Keith (Skip) Enger, Co-Chair, Advisory Board, Sun Lakes Education Center
Mr. Enger indicated he was a former educator with the community college system in California and joined the NAILS advisory council in 2000. He stated that the Arizona Republic had dubbed Sun Lakes as the "jewel of the East Valley" and he felt the Sun Lakes Education Center was the "jewel of Sun Lakes". He stated that in Sun Lakes there were 184 market groups, clubs, and associations offering enhancement opportunities for Sun Lakes residents. He stated it was important to keep in mind that one curriculum does meet the needs of everyone and it was important to keep this in mind in order to meet the needs of mature adults, young people, and middle age adults in Sun Lakes.
Mr. C. J. Occhipinti, President Executive Council, New Adventures in Learning for Seniors (NAILS)
Mr. Occhipinti spoke about his involvement as President of the NAILS Program and how it is essential that senior citizens continue to participate in educational opportunities in order to keep mentally fit. He expressed his appreciation to the Governing Board for the Sun Lakes Education Center and allowing the opportunity to provide educational opportunities for the citizens of Sun Lakes.
Mr. Phil Westbrooks, Director of Education, Chandler Regional Hospital, and City of Chandler Council Member
Mr. Westbrooks spoke about his own personal history growing up in Chandler and his experiences in attending Chandler Gilbert Community College and Mesa Community College, and subsequently Arizona State University. In his roles with the hospital and city council, he has observed that it is vital for people to continue to be active in the community and continue to take advantage of opportunities to participate in learning activities.
Open Forum Speakers
Ms. Rabbo stated that she had participated in two semesters of NAILS classes and truly appreciated the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun activities in her retirement years. She expressed that she hoped there would be an expansion of the Center.
Ms. Fontana indicated that she has come full circle since her retirement. As an airline industry employee, a single mom, and three educational degrees, she now participates in classes at the Sun Lakes Center which meet her needs socially and intellectually. Space is a challenge and she hopes that a second floor will be added to keep things centralized.
Mr. Romano asked when the Board would be completing its summary report on the listening sessions held. He also stated that it was important to evaluate the curriculum of courses offered in the retirement communities.
As a member of the Advisory Board, she reiterated the importance of adding a second floor to the Sun Lakes Education Center.
As a member of the advisory board, Ms. Reicher stated that she chose to live in Sun Lakes because it was a very active community and very young in mind and eagerness due to the Sun Lakes Education Center. She expressed the need for a larger center.
Ms. Felden serves as curriculum chair for NAILS and said that because of the increase in people enrolling in classes they have had to turn people away due to lack of space.
Ms. Farnsworth commented it is important to keep the mind going and growing and the Education Center provides that opportunity. There is a need for more space to keep this going and keep Sun Lakes citizens a vital part of the community.
One participant wanted to know where the funds were going to come from to build the second floor.
Another participant commented she would like to see the policy changed on auditing of courses by seniors so that exams do not need to be taken.
Ms. Patterson commented that the Sun Lakes Community stands behind the community college system and they are prepared to spread the word to pass whatever initiative is necessary to keep improving the system.
Governing Board Member Remarks:
Nancy Stein thanked everyone for their attendance and expressing their concerns. She stated that the Maricopa Community College District is not made up of one individual but many individuals who are there to serve the population. She stated she had the opportunity to tour this area a few months ago and was astonished to observe the growth taking place. She stated she fully supports the allocation for the Sun Lakes Education Center because she would like to see it be a jewel that shines a little brighter.
Linda Rosenthal also thanked everyone for attending and commented that she can certainly understand the need for mental stimulation. She stated that she was aware that ten years ago the Board decided that this facility would be adequate and this has proven true but now there is a need for additional space. The Governing Board is looking at a large general obligation bond and after that will be able to plan for additional space.
Dr. Don Campbell thanked those in attendance and recounted how back in 1990-93 he ran a program called Project Challenge. He recalled having to drive to Williams AFB through many open fields. As Maricopa County started getting populated these fields disappeared. Now whenever he has to drive to the various communities, he always gets there an hour early so that he can drive through the area and observe the growth. There is a need to anticipate what will happen and has heard that additional space is a problem. There may be a need to look somewhere else for additional facilities.
Ed Contreras thanked everyone that came to speak this evening. He stated he was not surprised by the comments. Ten years ago it was felt there was no need to build a center in Sun Lakes but he insisted in building here because of the voices heard. He used the quote,"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." It is evident by comments made that this center is an integral part of the community and space needs to be added. The report on the listening sessions will be started when the listening sessions are completed at the end of the year. Money for future projects will come from the bond. He encouraged everyone to vote yes on the bond and to tell CGCC administration what was needed at Sun Lakes.
The meeting concluded at 4:45 p.m.
Linda B. Rosenthal
Governing Board Secretary