Housing concerns raised over De Anza Event Center, bond measure projects discussed

Annalise Freimarck, News Editor

The Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees addressed concerns over the future of the Flint Center, now being called the De Anza Event Center, following controversy over student housing.

The board is currently looking into possible design plans for the De Anza Event Center, focusing on what amenities, such as a stage, would be the most dynamic in the renovated space.

The board said they are planning for an event center to be rebuilt within the footprint of the Flint Center, but it does not mean that they are not considering the possibilities of affordable student housing.

“The De Anza Event Center has no impact on our focus for student housing,” said board member Patrick Ahrens.

The board is looking into other options for affordable student housing, such as working with Catholic charities, which Foothill College is currently doing, or working with programs that aid students facing housing insecurity in the transitional period where they are no longer eligible for affordable housing provided by the district.

These programs already exist at other community colleges in California, such as Compton Community College and Imperial Valley College.

“We want to get the most out of the dollars available,” said Chancellor Judy Miner. “There are so many more opportunities we’re considering for student housing.”

The district aims to get information on these possible services on campus, so students who seek these resources can access them and use them to their advantage.

The board also clarified that they want the housing resources to be available to students as soon as possible.

The board said using the Flint Center as a housing facility would be much slower than using other resources because of the time it takes to build and other hindrances that come with building student housing on campus.

“There are a lot of impediments that come with having student housing on campus,” Trustee Laura Casas said.

Ahrens agreed that getting student housing in a fast manner should be a priority for the board.

“We want to address the housing crisis as quickly as possible for those interested in getting into a home,” he said.

Measure C annual report

The Citzen’s Bond Oversight Committee presented its annual report on measure C, a bond that gave the district an estimated $503 million to help make campuses more accessible to those with disabilities, renovate older buildings and upgrade facilities and their technology.

Measure C passed on the 2006 March ballot, and the district has consistently been using the money to improve De Anza and Foothill.

As of December 2019, the district has around $23 million out of the original $503 million. Out of that $503 million, De Anza used $209.5 million, Foothill gained $198.1 million and the district received $96.1 million.

De Anza completed installing a new planetarium roof, campus drive and campus exterior lighting within this fiscal year as of June 30, 2019. Other completed projects include the renovation of the library and the campuses stadium and track facilities.

“This really is a labor of love,” said Ahrens.