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Sunday, September 27, 2020

The building blocks of a college

Building blocks for student success and planned construction to improve the campus infrastructure are both underway at Pierce College.

The implementation of Guided Pathways and the construction projects on campus were prevalent issues discussed during the Pierce College Council meeting (PCC) on March 22.

According to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office website, Guided Pathways is a multi-year program that is designed to help students reach success. The website explains that by guiding students toward better enrollment decisions and establishing a support system for them, this will improve student outcomes.

“This is a good thing,” said Sheri Berger, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “It approved the work plan and we can move forward.”

Because the action passed, the program plans can now pass through the other channels of approval, including the senate and college president. The passing of this action will mean Pierce College will have a chance to determine what the significance of the program will be to the campus and student body. Now the planning, facilitating, and logistics of the program can occur.

Sherri said that during the first year, the school will receive $460 thousand and it will be in a separate funding file so that it can be saved specifically for guided pathways. After that, the money will be received in different parts and with no specified amount.

However, the process hasn’t been as smooth as some faculty would like. During Monday’s Academic Senate meeting, Anna Bruzzese, the senate president, said they received the documents that needed to be signed too late, and they weren’t able to have a normal process, which includes presenting an issue and taking some time to make the appropriate decisions. In this case, they had to make a decision and plan right away.

“What we hope will happen in the future, is that if there’s another such plan and there will be this kind of plan, we receive it in advance. Way in advance, and we will be asking for that from administration,” Bruzzese said.

General construction was also discussed at the meeting. Though a lot of construction remains in the preliminary stages of planning, the community can expect the beginning phases of the Mason Avenue reroute and the reconstruction of the old Media Arts Center on the Mall, the council members said.

The reroute will result in the closing of the cross streets Mason Avenue and Olympic Drive. This construction will also force the closure of the Mason Avenue entrance and exit onto campus.

Because of the Mason Avenue reroute, plans to work on road repairs and construct a better crosswalk can now begin.

Paul Nieman, the director of facilities, said that students and faculty will face initial shock once construction starts

“They’re going to freak out. Construction can be that way,” Nieman said.

Miguel Montanez, the PCC chapter president and the Admissions and Records assistant, said he understands the strain the rerouting will have on student body, but it is a necessary step to improve the campus.

Nieman also said that the Mason Avenue reroute will not impact students in the fall semester, but will create safer walkways for pedestrians once completed.

Another project entering the beginning stages of construction is the old Media Arts Center along the Mall.

At the meeting, College Project Director Ed Cadena said that construction occurs in phases and plans for the building are still being organized, but 50 percent of design development is completed.

Cadena said the next steps will be to finish the design development and choose proposals for a building team.

Although many items are still in the preliminary stages of development, students can expect tangible changes on campus in the form of construction projects, council members said at the meeting. Students can also anticipate more educational initiatives to better help students achieve success at Pierce.

The Roundup is the student-run news outlet at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.

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