College holds town hall meeting for students, faculty and staff

The Skyline community was given information about the latest updates to the college’s operations and programs


John Harrison

The buildings in light red are the ones in which construction is taking place.

An informational town hall meeting for the Skyline College community was held Oct. 16, during which attendees were updated regarding COVID-19 preparedness, buildings being built or remodeled on campus, and the Promise Scholars Program.

After opening remarks from Skyline College President Dr. Melissa Moreno, SMCCCD Emergency Preparedness Manager Ben’Zara Minkin, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Planning Dr. Aaron McVean, and Health Branch Director Ray Hernandez spoke about new developments relating to COVID-19 precautions in the district.

“Something that I want everyone in this town hall to glean from this presentation is that while we are recovering from COVID-19, what can be distant will be distant,” Minkin said while explaining the predicted turn of events in terms of Skyline’s distance learning. “There will not be a normal operating procedure as there was prior in the district, and with information that has recently been released, we can’t expect the new normal until late Q3 of 2021. So, we’re looking at another year before our normal district and campus rhythms are actually represented.”

Jose Nunez, vice chancellor of facilities planning, maintenance and operations, and Project Managers Heidi Rank and Marie Mejia spoke about places around campus that are being remodeled presently or in the near future. They described plans for the remodeling of or addition of new features to Buildings 1, 2, 3, and 19. Mejia showed images of what new offices that are going to be built in one of the buildings are going to look like when construction is finished.

“We are trying to complete a ‘refresh’ for 25 offices, so these are some of the offices that we have completed,” Mejia said about the images. “All offices will be done at the end of November.”

Project Manager Jesse Saavedra presented information concerning Skyline College Ridge, a housing complex for the college’s faculty and staff, that is under construction in an area adjacent to the campus. The housing is expected to be open to occupants Q2 2021.

“The project consists of two three-story apartment buildings with approximately 15,000 square feet,” Saavedra said. “Each building will consist of 15 apartments. They range from one-bedroom units to three-bedroom units, as well as 500 square feet of ground floor garage space. It does have a community amenity area with a built-in barbecue as well. A surface parking area and open spaces are included. … We are looking to go to the Board of Trustees on Dec. 9, to start construction in January 2021, and to complete construction March 2022.”

The last segment of the meeting before closing remarks from Dr. Moreno consisted of Kim Davalos and Ellen Murray, a counselor for and the director of the Promise Scholars Program respectively, discussing what the program offers, who’s eligible, what is expected of applicants, and the program’s history and achievements.

“The Promise Scholars Program prioritizes low-income students, first-generation students, and homeless foster students, given that we have limited spots each year to offer to our entering first-time full-time student body,” Murray said. “This prioritization serves to ensure that eligible disproportionately-impacted students and minoritized students on campus have a greater opportunity to access support as they navigate our systems to achieve their educational goals. … When disaggregating by race, ethnicity, and gender, our scholars are representative of the overall Skyline student body, with some slight overall increases in our multiethnic- and Filipino-identifying students — But generally aligning with the demographics of our overall college student population in those respects.”