Gavilan looks to the future

As Gavilan College evolves, classes which include growing police and fire training programs are offered at the Coyote Valley Campus in San Jose.

Gavilan College President Kathleen Rose talked about new buildings and new programs for the 2017-2018 academic year at Gavilan College.

Q: What’s new and exciting this year at Gavilan?

A: We’ve made a lot of upgrades to our facilities in the last couple of years. We’ve made improvements to our student center, the business school and our administration building.

To get new students acclimated quickly this year, when students go to the Welcome Center, they were met with an open space with laptops, peer mentors and a welcome committee that was there to answer questions. When they asked a question about school, they were assisted as to where to go for financial aid, classes, counseling and everything else.

Instead of just standing in a line, you can be dispatched to where you need to go, or you can go online or access your myGav portal. We didn’t have any lines and that was pretty amazing. Now at the Student Center students can get to where they need to go much quicker.

The Student Center also has brand new furniture that was purchased by the Associated Students of Gavilan College. It’s very contemporary that can be reconfigured in some different ways. There are mobile whiteboards, with good wifi and numerous outlets for charging. It’s a space where students can do work, eat their lunch and hang out with couches that are pretty easy to move around.

My office, the vice-president’s office, our assistant’s offices and parts of the Administration Office where students need to go is new. It’s more open, wider and brighter. The public can come in and have meetings with us.

My door is always open and the space where my office and the vice-president’s office isn’t a stuffy place but where you can come in, sit down and have a sandwich with me or chat. It’s not a formal area.

Q: What are some of the new classes at Gavilan this year?

A: Our Coyote Valley Facility is all new. We have our Public Safety Training programs out there along with classes including yoga, which was very popular last year. We’re offering more programs, especially in our Administrative Justice department. A lot of our students are interested in going to the fire or police academies so getting an Associated Degree from Gavilan is a great way to get started.

The San Martin Gavilan Airport Facility opened this year for the Aviation Technology Department. These programs include classes in Aviation Maintenance for both Airframe and Powerplant. We’ve had some of the largest classes since we started the program.

Q: How many students are enrolled in ATD programs?

A: We have students up there that are your traditional college students up to students in their 50’s,” Rose said. “We’ve had a great partnership with American Airlines. They say they can’t wait for our students to graduate so because they’d like to hire a lot of them. We have several aircraft out there that our students can take apart and put back together. One of the first things I had to do as president was to buy an airplane. It had an inaugural flight from Palo Alto to San Martin, then the students took it apart.

Q: How do you connect with the community?

A: During our opening week, I was very happy to have been accompanied by Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Flores at our Gilroy campus,” Rose said. “She was particularly excited to go into our Allied Health Building. She has never been in that building before and she was excited to see the beginning of Certified Nurses Assistant classes and our Registered Nurses classes.

I’m working this year to engage the public to remind them of the jewel we have here at Gavilan College. I will continue hosting the Coffee and Conversation meetings on Saturdays with the public this year throughout the district this semester. We also offer classes that the public can take which includes work training courses. It has been a hallmark of mine to remind and reintroduce what Gavilan offers for the community. I also invite input as to what we should be adding to our school.

Q: Can you tell me more about what is happening at Coyote Valley?

A: The main thing we have there is our South Bay Regional Training Consortium, or, The Academy. There are nine colleges that are involved in that, but Gavilan is the host, so we are the main college. They offer fire and police training for the whole region. Gavilan also offers general education classes there like math and some social sciences classes.

We are also working to expand our Administrative Justice program. Gavilan offers 10 sections there this semester and so far we have about 150 of our students up there. It’s only our second semester, so we hope to continue growing.

Q: Will Gavilan support any new bond issues in the near future?

A: The Gavilan Board of Trustees has moved forward a disabilities study for a new general obligation bond. That means that we are exploring if the communities that we serve will be willing to support a bond measure in November 2018.

Q: What is a general obligation bond?

A: A general obligation bond is when members of the community agree to have a portion of their tax dollars based on their property, allocated to the community college. The last general obligation bond was back in 2003 which was for $108 million.

Q: How much money does Gavilan want to raise in 2018?

A: We have not yet determined the valuation of property in the community, so we are not yet sure what we can ask for. There are a lot of different projects we would like to look going forward. We have over 50 acres at Coyote Valley and about 77 acres at Fairview Corners in Hollister.

Q: How was the money from the last bond measure spent?

A: You can go on our website to find our Citizen’s Oversight Committee report. Mainly those dollars went to purchase land in San Benito County and at Coyote Valley. The money also went to a lot of projects at our Gilroy campus which included water towers, electrical work, better wireless internet and other upgrades to our buildings. We have also set up the groundwork for the next phase of projects, which will begin now.

We need to be ready to accommodate the growth that is happening in our area and our educational master plan has been designed to meet those demands. There will be a lot more college aged students coming in the next few decades and we want to make sure we can serve that community.

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