Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone OKs talks with builders

College board of trustees moving forward with plans to build structure

By West Bowers, MediaNews staff.

Monday, December 3, 2007—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

Fremont—Pushing forward with a plan to remediate an anticipated parking crunch, Ohlone College's board of trustees has voted 5-1 to begin negotiating with two firms on building a parking structure.

The decision comes as the college is expecting a multi-use development to be built on its frontage property along Mission Boulevard.

Trustees previously approved a request for qualifications from firms interested in developing and managing parking structures and renewable energy projects on the Fremont campus.

College President Doug Treadway said five firms submitted proposals that were reviewed by the parking structure selection committee of faculty, staff and administrators.

Two firms ultimately were selected out of the group: Ohlone Parking Development Partners, and Parsons.

Treadway said the next step is to select the best firm based on cost and a "best fit" for the college.

As the firm likely would manage the parking structure, Treadway said one of the factors in choosing a final applicant is how much students would be charged for parking.

"The structure has been viewed as a self-supporting mechanism, paid for by the users," Treadway told board members at their Nov. 14 meeting. "Part of the feasibility study is to determine what people would be willing to pay, and what is a normal fee at similar structures."

He said the school's current daily and semester parking fee arrangements still would be in effect. Trustee Bob Brunton cast the lone dissenting vote, arguing the college's newly created Finance Facilities Committee and the board should have been involved in the selection process.

"I'm glad to have input from the staff, but not glad that we don't have input from the board," he said. "This should come before the Finance Facilities Committee, at least, to review the final outcome of this contract.

"We need the pros and cons of a parking structure, and background experience of firms with these types of structures," he added.

Other trustees said staff members had done a fine job selecting the firms.

"We've been talking about the need for a parking structure for a couple years, and my recollection is that we gave this to the administration to do some research and come back to us with something like this," Trustee Garrett Yee said.

"Just because this didn't come before a recently formed finance facilities committee doesn't mean the board hasn't been involved in the process," he added. "We anticipated this coming back to us last month."

Nick Nardolillo, the board president, said he thought sometimes the board gets "too nit-picky" and "micromanages the staff"—things he claimed the board was not paid to do.

"We need to have faith in the good folks at this college that they're going to do this job,'" he said. "If we don't like what we see when this comes back to us, then we can send it back to the drawing board."

A memorandum of understanding, which the board will vote on, will be negotiated when a final firm is chosen. The memorandum would allow the selected firm to proceed with a feasibility study to determine whether or not the project is viable, Treadway said.

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