By Zachary-Taylor Wright
Trustees and district employees are not on the same page when discussing rental plans for the new district support office at 2222 N. Alamo, which the district broke ground on Jan. 20.
John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities operation and construction management, said the conference rooms on the first floor of the new district support office can be reserved by students and employees of Alamo Community College District if they are not scheduled for district use, as current boardroom procedures state.
Strybos said there is an opportunity to rent the conference rooms to members of the community, such as other colleges outside of the Alamo Colleges District, when not in use by district employees.
Strybos said students and employees of the Alamo Colleges would have first priority.
He said there are no plans to rent space outside of the conference rooms on the first floor.
District 4 trustee Marcello Casillas said the board discussed plans to rent space in the new district support office for a restaurant or eatery but was unaware of any drafted contracts.
Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the district will rent space to a third-party food vendor to offer food services for district employees and any community members who enter the new district support office.
Snyder said some commercial space will also be dedicated to a UPS store, which district employees and any community members are able to use.
Snyder said the retail space must be small because its use of public funds, saying retail space must primarily benefit the college and not some vendor.
Strybos said the grounds of the new district support office will be open to the community, saying the district was not putting up fences around the district support office.
Strybos said community members could speak to him about renting areas for public events, such as community garage sales.
Casillas said there is a need for a central office for district employees, saying construction is expensive and always has been.
Casillas said he doesn’t think public concern for the $55 million cost of the 156,237 square foot district support office will affect the passing of the bond issue.
In an interview with The Ranger Jan. 10, District 1 trustee Joe Alderete said the cost of constructing the new district support office should not impact the public’s vote on the recommended projects of the capital improvement program trustees approved in January for a May 6 election because they are separate issues.
He said his opinion was swayed on supporting the new support office when plans were established to sell the Sheridan Street, Houston Street and Pat Booker Road properties to repay a portion of the bonds.
Alderete said the fractured district support offices is costing the colleges money and frustrating for district employees, saying transportation between the offices is costly and inefficient.