The Pierce College Council voted 13-4 Thursday, Nov. 21 to recommend to the college’s president an increase in rental prices of Pierce College services and activity areas used by the community.
The college rents classrooms, the pool, the football stadium, the gym and other facilities around campus to raise revenue to maintain facilities.
The current rates are significantly lower than many other colleges in the area and are below fair market values, according to the Associate Vice President of Administrative Services Larry Kraus.
“What we found is that we are very low in our pricing,” Kraus said. “In many of our operations, we are losing money.”
This change in pricing will attempt to remedy that by looking at a study comparing Pierce and other similar places, and charging the fair market price derived from that.
“When we talk about the pool, we know the definite cost,” Kraus said. “Right now we are losing money on that pool because it is so expensive to maintain.”
There is worry among a few of the council members that this could alienate the community by driving them out with the high prices. Deborah Hefter, current manager of the pool, voted against increasing the rental prices for this reason.
“To have that pool just sitting there empty is going to cost us way more money than it is to have people in there using it,” Hefter said.
A slow increase in the rates over time had been attempted, but it was rejected because it wasn’t aggressive enough, with the flat increase is going forward to the president. The worries of alienating the community were calmed by possible freedom in pricing and the thought of revisiting the issue if problems arise.
“It will have some impact on our community,” Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Gus Sandoval, president of the Associated Students Organization, believes this is a necessary step to get business at the college moving again.
“If we don’t act, the district will continue to not approve our contracts,” Sandoval said. “If we start losing community involvement, we can revisit the issue.”