College to reconfigure portion of Child Development Center

Assistant Alan Favela, from Paicines, right, helps attach the wires to the propeller and the battery as part of the Build a Hovercraft workshop during the 14th Annual Science Alive conference at Gavilan College Feb. 7. Students built their own model hover

Gavilan College trustees Tuesday unanimously approved reconfiguring an “underutilized portion” of the Child Development Center to centralize office space for employees currently housed across campus.
That was despite public comment from several mothers concerned that granting more people access to the building presented a safety risk to their children.
Gavilan is planning to use $475,000 in Measure E funds to create the office space with a separate entrance from the child center entry and its own set of bathrooms, according to background information from the agenda packet.
“It’s a safe place and it just concerns me having a facility there right next to it,” said Priscilla Ahmed, a Gavilan student who sent a child to the center and hopes to send her youngest to the same place. “I know that the (center) is also used for studying. Parents use it. Child development majors use. Friends of child development majors even use it sometimes.”
The center offers a subsidized childcare services program for income-eligible Gavilan students. Child Development majors also have a chance to visit the center and observe the youth.
“It’s a beautiful facility but it’s never met its capacity,” said Trustee Kent Child, who said only 18 children attend the site. “It’s never had enough students to justify the cost that it is to run that.”
Child mentioned that some child development majors choose to observe students at facilities in town, instead of using the on-site center.
“But we cannot continue to put taxpayer money into the 18 children we have there now,” he said. “We ought to put them in a limousine and send them to the nicest child car facility in town.”
Student Trustee Gabriel Sawyer asked board members to table the issue until the April meeting in order to “to find a solution that makes everyone happy,” but his motion did not get a second. He cast the lone dissenting vote on reconfiguring the space, though his vote as a student trustee is solely an advisory one.
Trustee Mark Dover suggested the proposed change might save the center allowing it to stay on campus in a smaller space, instead of cutting the program all together.

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