Trustees discuss reaching out to communities through PTA meetings to promote Alamo Colleges.
By Wally Perez
State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, suggested to the board of trustees during the monthly meeting July 26 in Killen that the Victory Center for veterans planned for this college include housing.
Menéndez attended the meeting for a proclamation granting administrator emeritus status to the late David Mrizek, vice president of college services, who died March 20.
The state senator said he recently met with Chancellor Bruce Leslie, President Robert Vela and John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities, to discuss the potential to turn the center in more than what has been planned.
Menéndez said he had a concern regarding the amount of money that is funded for the center and what can be done with it.
“With $7.6 million funded for the center, we should aspire to do more with what we have,” Menéndez said.
He was instrumental in getting the Legislature to fund the center.
Currently, the center is planned to be a state-of-the-art facility, with VA services, physical and mental health support, financial aid, enrollment and registration assistance and job training.
Menéndez said there is an opportunity to take the money and do more for the campus.
“Imagine the beauty of being able to provide quality, affordable housing for all your students,” Menendez said. “If we did a market study today, I guarantee you there is a significant market of your students that would love to live on your campus.”
Menéndez said he would hate to miss an opportunity where student housing could be built along with the center.
“I can’t make promises that I can’t keep, but I can promise you this — whatever it is you need to help the students of the Alamo Colleges, I will go to Austin in January and fight for the students of the Alamo Colleges,” Menéndez said.
District 5 trustee Roberto Zarate voiced his appreciation for Menéndez, saying he has always been there for the community.
“To the rest of this board and the general public, it’s all about credibility and you (Menéndez) have been so consistent and always there for this community,” Zarate said.
District 9 trustee Jim Rindfuss said as board members they recognize what Menéndez has done for them and are will help Menéndez understand their needs.
Menéndez obtained $8.9 million at the Texas Senate last summer to build new facilities and training centers for veterans at St. Philip’s College, Westside Education and Training Center and this college.
Of the $8.9 million, $7.6 million was allocated for the Victory Center.
In other business, the board approved the revised Policy B.6.1 Board Committees, which refined revisions made to accommodate the transition from separate board committees to a committee of the whole.
According to the approved minute order, the transition from separate board committees to a committee of the whole will no longer include voting for approval or disapproval of matters before it, but rather conduct working sessions.
District 2 trustee Denver McClendon started a discussion regarding a need for more communication within the community and neighborhood associations to inform them about what the Alamo Colleges and the board does for the community.
District 1 trustee Joe Alderete suggested obtaining a list of various PTA organizations and reaching out to them at meetings to inform them about the purpose of the board and what they do.
Alderete said he developed a habit in 2010 of going to PTA meetings of various high schools and giving soft presentations about the Alamo Colleges.
“It’s an opportunity to market ourselves to these high school students and make them aware of the opportunities that our respected colleges are putting forth,” Alderete said.
Board chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, said it was a good idea.
Katz said there is the Council of PTAs, which include all the presidents of all the PTAs in every school district in San Antonio. They could attend and give presentations as a starting point.
The trustees agreed and said they would look into it.
The board passed a resolution presented by Menéndez from the Senate commemorating the life of Mrizek.
“Revered for his dedication to his profession and his kind manner, David Mrizek will be deeply missed by all that were privileged to know him and his contributions will continue to resonate at San Antonio College for years to come. So now be it resolved that tribute be paid for the life of David Mrizek, and that sincere condolences be extended to the members of his family.”
Menendez presented the resolution to Mrizek’s wife, Ann, saying “on behalf of a grateful state, congratulations for having such an incredible partner, but I know he couldn’t have done it without you.”
Mrizek died March 20 at age 69 after suffering from mantle cell lymphoma.
Mrizek was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2006, entered remission in 2007, relapsed in May 2015 and went into remission again in October.
Mrizek, who was vice president of college services, worked at this college for over 40 years starting out as faculty in the speech department in 1974, then making his way up to director of planning and evaluation in 1996, chief financial officer in 2003 and finally vice president in 2008, according to the emeritus proclamation.
Leslie, District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante and District 6 trustee Gene Sprague were absent.
Katz said they were on vacation.