The summer class schedule is in full swing, and we have welcomed our College for Kids onto campus. Our new officers of the Associated Students Organization took on their leadership roles this month and wasted no time in bringing the college together for a moving and touching campus vigil in honor of the Orlando shooting victims. I applaud our entire college community for their compassion and our student government for their leadership.
Speaking of new student leadership, at our last Governing Board meeting I swore in our new student trustee, Freda Hernandez, who previously served as the senator for the Higher Education Center at National City. I look forward to working closely with Freda and learning from her unique perspective.
Tentative Budget Approved
Approving the tentative budget marks the beginning of our summer-long process to approve the final budget and to ensure that our resources are being used effectively. Thank you to Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs Tim Flood for holding budget workshops during the day to allow more faculty, staff and students to attend.
Proposition R Update
Construction is moving at a rapid pace over the summer to take advantage of fewer students being on campus. At our main campus, the Wellness and Aquatics Complex’s foundation is being built and walls will soon start to go up.
At the Higher Education Center in National City, the Center for Business Advancement office remodel is on schedule, which will modernize and expand their existing space and build accommodations for the Small Business Development Center, the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center and the Center for International Trade Development. The new two-story classroom building, which is being built on the south side of the center, hit a tiny delay when construction crew found a tank buried underneath the site. Crew members are currently working to remove the tank and get us back on schedule.
The College is also preparing plans for the Higher Education Center in San Ysidro to position us for state construction funds when they become available. The San Ysidro plans include a new three-story building that will include labs, offices and a library.
Back at our main campus, we’ve begun the early process to demolish the old fitness education center and pools to make way for the new, state-of-the-art Math, Science and Engineering complex. To prepare for the demolition, the old buildings have been fenced off and a section of the northwest perimeter road will close for the summer.
A Neighborhood Partnership
Southwestern College is a proud member of the South Bay Adult Education Consortium with our neighbors at the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUSHD) and the Coronado Unified School District (CUSD). For this partnership, Southwestern College acts as the fiscal agent for the Adult Education Block Grant, and we approve the funding allocations from the grant for each district for the upcoming year. At the Sweetwater District, funds are being used to hire new employees, including a project director and administrative assistant. The Consortium, which is funded by the Adult Education Block Grant, helps fund continuing education for all adults, including English-language learners, adults looking to re-enter the workforce, special-skills seekers and adults with disabilities.
Refinancing Prop R. Bonds
With interest rates at an historic 50-year low, the Governing Board approved refinancing a portion of our bonds that will, in total, save taxpayers $13.4 million dollars without extending the life of the bonds.
Governing Board Workshop
Members of the board approved a tentative workshop schedule for the upcoming months. I’m excited to participate in these workshops that focus on accreditation, student achievement and our facilities master plan, to name a few, so that we can continue to better serve our students and our community.
On Friday, the Governing Board and Superintendent/President Dr. Melinda Nish released a joint statement that Dr. Nish was resigning at the end of the month to pursue a sabbatical for personal and other professional development opportunities.
During the 4.5 years Dr. Nish has served at Southwestern College she has significantly increased the number of graduates transferring to the California State University system, forged alliances with universities on both sides of the border and led the collaborative effort to resolve procurement issues surrounding the Proposition R bond and re-energized the construction program that is now developing the long-vacant corner lot.
We thank Dr. Nish for her tireless work and wish her much continued success.
The Board will immediately select an interim Superintendent/President, and at the same time begin a search for a new permanent Superintendent/President.