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Construction projects receive mixed feedback

By Joshua J. Garza | Pulse Staff Reporter

Construction projects receive mixed feedback
Renovating the courtyard entrance of San Jacinto Hall

Construction at Palo Alto College has been a nuisance for some faculty, staff and students, but others see the benefits that will soon come with the renovations.

“The construction has made it difficult to find parking near buildings,” said Stacy Ybarra Evans, recruiter/adviser at Palo Alto. “When the library closed, it was difficult to access books and other information that some people took for granted before the construction started.”

Evans said that the biggest distractions are the parking and library situations. She said that faculty and staff sometime have to park further than normal, and the current library is limited.

“Renovation projects for Gutierrez and Medina halls are being funded from the sale of $50,000,000 of maintenance tax notes. It was approved by the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee in the May 2011 Board meeting,” said Sergio Rivera, Facilities superintendent. “The Ozuna and San Jacinto building will also be renovated. A total of $10,000,000 was allocated to Palo Alto for renovation projects.”

Some people had concerns about the blocked entrances and exits to buildings undergoing construction, but Rivera said that there are entrances and exits in each building. Some are closed because of safety issues. He said that construction began in 2005 and is set to be complete in the summer of 2013.

Ozuna is one of the buildings that the renovations have had a greater effect on because of its move to a temporary location.

“We were not able to bring the full collection. We brought the materials with the highest circulation,” said Cynthia Sanchez, librarian. “We don’t have study rooms or the full lab anymore either, but we still have computers for research.”

Sanchez reinforced the fact that the library still has many useful resources in the temporary space, Room 126, which it now occupies. Sanchez said that computers and rooms that professors can use for teaching are both available. The library originally occupied three-fourths of the 77,000 square feet in Ozuna. It will occupy about half when the construction is complete.

Sanchez also promoted the Interlibrary Loan Service, which allows students to request books from other schools’ libraries. The materials can then be returned to Palo Alto’s library when the student is finished.

Another service that she promoted was the Tex-Share program. It is a collaboration with other San Antonio colleges and universities that allows Palo Alto students to check out materials at the other libraries with their Tex-Share cards. The only difference is that materials checked out through the Tex-Share programs must be returned to the library it was originally checked out.

Despite the limitations the construction has caused, Palo Alto will be able to accommodate more students and offer more classes with its almost 150,000 square foot increase in size. With four new buildings—Vet Tech, Sabine, Brazos and the Performing Arts Center—and many renovated buildings, Palo Alto will have a cleaner and newer look when the construction comes to an end next summer.