Board of Trustees discussed land that has gone unused for decades

Student housing is being considered at SJCC

The+District+Board+of+Trustees+prepare+to+start+the+meeting.+The+meeting+was+hosted+in-person+but+also+had+access+via+Zoom%2C+on+Nov.+16.

Photo by Emmanuel Becerril / Times Staff

The District Board of Trustees prepare to start the meeting. The meeting was hosted in-person but also had access via Zoom, on Nov. 16.

The San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees have become very passionate about 27 acres of land in the Evergreen Community.

Two of the major things that were discussed during the Board of Trustees meeting, on Nov. 16, were the 27 acres of surplus land and student housing. The 27 surplus acres of land that were discussed sits in the Evergreen Community and has been vacant for several years.

For many years the land was thought to be used for commercial use but those plans never materialized.

“I have no interest in having this 27 acres of land being turned into a commercial place,” Trustee Bob Livengood said

The consensus in the room was that nobody wants this land to be turned into a commercial place.

It was also brought up that at one point the land was proposed as a gas station but Trustee Jeffery Lease said, “That didn’t fit the principles of the land.”

Board of President Trustee Maria Fuentes mentioned that the 27 acres sits on what used to be the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe land and she also mentioned that whatever is done with the land should have some sort of dedication to the tribe.

Trustee Wendy Ho proposed that the land be turned into a child care center and she said her reasoning behind the idea is because, “After housing, child care is the most expensive thing for parents.”

The idea of making the land into a museum, similar to the Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose, was also discussed.

“If a museum were to be put in place it should have a cultural perspective,” Vice Chancellor Jorge Escobar said.

As the topic came to a closing point, Escobar also said, “If we don’t use our resources to help the community, that is something we will regret.”

Another topic that was brought up during the meeting was the importance of student housing. This topic was brought up by The Scion Group, which has had student housing as its focus since 1999. It has also worked with 250 plus campuses across North America.

Some of the points that The Scion Group made about having more student housing and the benefits of it was higher persistence and retention rates, average GPAs, graduation rates and more social engagement. Some of the study goals of this group is to determine demand for housing and unit preferences, understand cost tolerances and analyze the off-campus market.

The meeting lasted for four hours. The next San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees will be on December 6, 2021.