A proposal to save the Pierce College Farm Center land from development was the key issue presented at Monday’s Pierce College Academic Senate meeting.
Associate professor of political science Denise Robb asked the senate’s support to conduct a feasibility study on the possible costs to protect the Farm Center. Robb said at the April 27 meeting that Pierce has the backing of unions districtwide.
“We have all nine unions behind us. Chairs of different departments, the foundation board, all we need is two more board of trustees,” Robb said. “Students benefit so much from the Vet Tech. The farm is important for the community and it’s what makes Pierce College unique.”
At the FarmWalk on Sunday, April 26, hundreds of people signed a petition to prevent the farmland from being sold for commercial purposes. Senior program director Floriya Borzenkova is a supporter of Robb and her effort to preserve the land.
“After the FarmWalk last year, the farm made $17,000 in profit. That shows it is possible to make profit,” Borzenkova said.
According to Robb, Pierce has sold 35 acres of its land to housing projects in the past. Financial problems and pressure from the community prompted a proposal by golfer Jim Colbert and entrepreneur Eddie Milligan to build an 18-hole golf course, but the proposal did not pass.
Robb wants to ensure the land is strictly used for educational purposes, and that commercial or private development is restricted. She said that the remaining 226 acres of farmland are a huge part of Pierce’s history and are important to the preservation of natural beauty.
Before it adjourned, the senate also heard a request from distance education coordinator Wendy Bass to put forth a motion which would require at least 50 percent of classes be available online.
“A few years ago, I suggested the same thing. But only three of the seven classes were approved,” Bass said. “This time, I want all of them to be approved. I want students to have the ability to complete more than 50 percent of their classes online.”