Board Vice President takes shots at fellow trustee
By Allen Payton
Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) board members were joined by college district staff, City of Brentwood and other officials, and education supporters on Wednesday, April 18 to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the new Brentwood Center campus of Los Medanos College (LMC). The new site is located at Pioneer Square and Miwok Place in Brentwood (near the intersection of Vineyards Parkway and Marsh Creek Road, just off of Highway 4).
Dr. Bob Kratochvil, President of LMC opening remarks and offered introductions, including Board President John Marquez who in turn introduced Board Vice President and Ward 4 Trustee Gary Walker-Roberts whose ward the new campus will be located.
Without naming Ward 3 BoardTrustee Greg Enholm, Walker-Roberts took a dig at him for his opposition to locating the center in Brentwood, saying it will be built in spite of “resistance from a particular board member.” Enholm campaigned twice on locating the new campus near the Laurel Road interchange with Highway 4, closer in either Antioch or Oakley. However, the college district didn’t own that land and was donated the land on which the new campus will be built.
Walker-Roberts gave credit to former Student Trustee Debora Van Eckhardt, who used to live in Brentwood, for her efforts, as well as the students who spoke out in favor of the Brentwood location.
Only four board members were in attendance including Board Secretary and Ward 2 Trustee Vicki Gordon. That’s because the fifth member, former Board President and Ward 5 Trustee, Tim Farley resigned in February, following the revelation of sexual harassment allegations from five years earlier and an impending investigation. (See related articles, here and here). The board will appoint his replacement to fill the vacancy.
Walker-Roberts paid tribute to the Native Americans in the area, the Miwoks, and then the “Latinx” (which according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina”) community, who lived in the area.
“There was a last-minute attempt, yes by the same trustee, to delay the shovels,” Walker-Roberts said, taking another not so subtle jab at Enholm.
He then thanked Student Trustee Jessica Cisneros for her efforts to make sure “the shovels were in the ground.”
“This has been an exciting time for the 4CD…to see this dream become a reality, today,” Walker-Roberts concluded.
College district Chancellor, Dr. Fred Wood was next to share his thoughts.
“Raul Rodriguez started the Brentwood Center and former President Pete García continued the effort,” he said, giving tribute to the two former leaders of LMC.
“You couldn’t have a more beautiful site…with the views of Mt. Diablo,” Wood pointed out.
“I want to thank President Bob Kratochvil,” he said. “Without him and his staff we wouldn’t be standing here, today.”
Wood ended his remarks by saying “At the end of the day, it’s for you. We want to thank you for your patience in getting us through the process. It’s going to be an absolute wonderful facility for East County.”
The new one-story Center, designed by Ratcliff Architects, will be approximately 55,000 square feet. The project will be constructed on a 17.5 parcel purchased by Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) in 2011. It will feature instructional classrooms, science labs, student support services, library resources, tutorial labs, bookstore and food service areas, “linger and learn” space, faculty/staff offices, and more than 700 parking stalls. The current Brentwood Center, located in a leased facility at 101A Sand Creek Road in Brentwood, first opened in 2001. The existing space consists of 22,000 square feet and serves approximately 2,800 students – accounting for about one-third of LMC’s enrollment.
The permanent $65 million facility is made possible through funding from CCCCD Bond Measures A (2006) and E (2014), thanks to support from voters in Contra Costa County. Construction is expected to be completed in 18-24 months, with the new Brentwood Center projected to open in Spring 2020. It will replace the current Brentwood Center located on Sand Creek Road near Brentwood Blvd.