Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees votes to demolish Flint Center, rebuild new facility


Quan Bach

The Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees voted on June 10 to demolish the Flint Center and rebuild a new facility. Final plans will be decided at the next meeting on Oct. 7.

Ethan Bennett, News Editor

The Flint Center will be torn down but the future of the site is up for grabs.

At an emotion-packed Foothill-De Anza board of trustees meeting on June 10, community members and students from both colleges debated the site’s future.

But the discussion was about more than just a building.

Speakers from around the community argued for renovating and restoring the center and shared their memories of past art events, music performances and other nostalgia.

Mitchell Klein, music director and coordinator of the Peninsula Symphony, called the center “nothing less than a regional treasure.”

Flint Center director Paula Davis said she was touched by the support many community members have and recalls the different graduation ceremonies that take place at the center.

“If used efficiently and effectively, it will be a good marketing tool,” she said.

“Flint Center is a PR tool to get the public behind them,” community member Charles Mar said.

“If you tear it down, you are tearing down your PR tool,” he said.

But students had different ideas.

Citing the growing housing crisis and homelessness among students around Cupertino and San Jose, they argued for a new vision to rise from the site.

Foothill student Matthew Bodo said the board needs to prioritize student housing.

“Their needs should be considered as well,” he said.

Zoe Delgado, president of the Social Justice Projects club at Foothill, told her story of receiving an eviction notice from her present apartment and not being able to focus on her education.

She said that because she works a full-time job and needs to save to cover her housing, her grades drop as a result.

“There are a lot of performance centers but not a lot of student housing,” she said.

DASB senate vice president Shelly Michael also supported replacing the building with student housing.

She said the best public relations tool the district has are the students themselves.

“If we’re not going to focus on our students, how can we grow? Students are the people you are fighting for,” Michael said.

Trustee Peter Landsberger said the core issue of the Flint Center was “looking to the future or holding on to the past.”

“It’s not housing versus culture,” he said “We need to give some direction to the staff on what’s remaining. Whatever the new facility is, it will have direct relevance to the students.”

Francesca Caparas, De Anza English instructor, said the board must be reminded of the district’s mission statement.

“The mission of FHDA is student success. We are driven by equity agenda and core values,” she said.

To keep the colleges viable, Caparas said the board should “not only think about recruitment but also about retainment.”

De Anza student trustee Genevieve Kolar agreed with Caparas and said the students are the “most valuable stockholders” in the school.

Trustees Patrick Ahrens and Laura Costas said there must be more outreach with the city of Cupertino and state of California to “get clarifications on what obstacles are there” in terms of building student housing and commercial use.

After deliberations among the trustees, the board approved of option C for the Flint Center to be demolished and create plans for a new facility.

District chancellor Judy Miner and other staff had supported tearing down the Flint Center and replacing it with a new building.

The final action plan and research will be presented at the Oct. 7 meeting.