Mt. SAC faculty fights student housing proposal

Faculty is fighting a student housing proposal at Mount San Antonio College. A long line of professors told the Mt. SAC board of trustees that student housing wasn’t needed or wanted at the community college in Walnut.

In March, President Bill Scroggins formed a student housing task force. He said Mt. SAC had been approached 18 months ago by an equity development group, Antarctica.

“They said in this economy, there’s a lot of cash chasing revenue. ‘So we’ve got the money and what we’d like to do with this money is help education, in particular community colleges,’” Scroggins recalled. “What have you got that produces any kind of revenue that will eventually pay off whatever investment we make in your college.”

So the two parties talked about the parking structure and the daily rates that could be charged. “That didn’t pencil out,” Scroggins said.

They also talked about solar power fields. “Now, we (Mt. SAC) see with our incentives and zero-interest loans, we are going to build that cheaper than anyone else,” he said.

The Mt. SAC CEO pointed out that the City of Industry had considered building student housing with redevelopment money on the west parcel. “Conversations with the Walnut City Council said ‘hell, no, we’re not going to have housing on Grand Avenue, but we’d be OK with housing over by Cal Poly,” Scroggins said.

So Antarctica was asked to show that student housing was feasible. It had the Cokley Group conduct a student survey on housing.

“They saw enough demand for at least 500, maybe 1,000 students in student housing,” Scroggins said.

These documents were shared with the task force in September. The survey suggested housing would be attractive to athletes, out of state and international students.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story HOUSING.

Mt SAC studies options for new parking structure

Mount San Antonio College trustees learned it would cost $14.5 million to move the controversial 2,200 spot parking structure planned for the community college.

Another study to downsize the $45 million parking garage said it would cost almost $6 million to eliminate one of the parking levels in one section. That would only cut 200 stalls.

“The cost is not feasible to redo the parking structure,” concluded Mt. SAC President and CEO Bill Scroggins. “After the multi-millions spent on the design, it would not be a good shepherding of tax dollars.”

Mt. SAC’s Director of Facilities Gary Nellesen explained the costs involved to move the parking garage from Parking Lot A to Lot F. His staff calculated it would take three years and $14,470,000 to relocate the parking garage now planned off Mountaineer Road along Edinger Way. And the easier option of cutting one section would cost $5,820,000.

“The biggest cost would be inflation caused by the delay,” Nellesen said. “We use the same number we use for all our projects … about 4 percent per year. Because this redesign effort would take 18 months, we’re figuring about a year and a half of cost inflation on the rest of the structure.”

That would add $2.4 million to the cost of the smaller structure. Deleting one level and replacing it with surface parking would save $2 million.

“We’d have to pay for a redesign of the darn thing,” Nellesen said.

He said the college learned a lesson back in 2003, when bids for the new science building came in over budget.

“We did an extensive effort to reduce the cost of the project. By the time we got it approved and put it up for bid, we got less for more money,” Nellesen recalled.

He said using Lot F would add 40 months to the project in order to start all over again with the environmental impact report, new design and the state approval process. Inflation would add $5.6 million to the costs.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARKING

Walnut power outage reported

More than a dozen customers woke up to a power outage in San Gabriel on New Year’s Day, while 138 customers in Walnut were still waiting for service to be restored.

An animal in electrical equipment caused an outage for 16 customers at 7:32 a.m. Thursday in San Gabriel, according to the SoCal Edison website.

Officials planned to have power restored by 3:30 p.m.

In Walnut, equipment problems caused a power outage at 6:04 a.m., the website listed. Service was expected to be restored by 6 p.m.

Whoville comes to Walnut on Dec. 13

Walnut will turn into a wintery “Whoville” Wonderland this holiday season. The parking lot at Walnut Senior Center Parking Lot will be filled with snow on Dec. 13 from 6 to 10 pm.

For $8, residents can enjoy unlimited sled rides, ice skating, games, snow ball battlefield and live entertainment. This year’s entertainment includes community groups as well as the Filharmonic, featured in NBC’s “Sing Off” competition, at 8 p.m.

Families should bring blankets for a showing of the “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 8:30 p.m. with hot cocoa.

For more information, call the Walnut Senior Center at 909-598-6200. The center is located at 21215 La Puente Road in Walnut.

 

Walnut Valley Women’s Club to light holiday tree

On Sunday, December 7, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., the Walnut Valley Women’s Club invites the community to attend the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony which will be held at Fire Station 61, on the corner of La Puente Road and Lemon Avenue.

As we celebrate our 50 years in federation this year, we named Jeanne Burgh the honored tree lighter. She is the Club’s longest Walnut resident who is currently a member of the Walnut Valley Women’s Club.

Enjoy the holiday music of our little ones and teens and meet Santa who will arrive at 7:00 p.m.

At this 23rd year anniversary celebration, the Club is grateful to the community for its sponsorship of the Scholarship Tree of Lights.

 

Walnut Council crashes Mt. SAC board meeting

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

For the first time in history, the City Council held part of its meeting Wednesday night in front of the Mount San Antonio College board as a kind of visual protest against the college’s plan to build a five-story parking structure adjacent to Walnut homes.

With city staff in tow, all five City Council members drove from Walnut City Hall, where their meeting began, to Founder’s Hall in the center of the Mt. SAC campus, filled out white comment cards and were called one by one to address the college board face-to-face over an issue that is dividing the two institutions.

All five, along with about 20 community members, urged the Board of Trustees to halt plans to build a five-story parking garage abutting dozens of Timberline homes along Mountaineer Road and instead relocate the structure elsewhere on the large campus.

The tense drama included numerous threats of litigation from some City Council members and attorneys with the neighborhood group, United Walnut Taxpayers, if the project was not relocated.

Councilman Eric Ching reminded the trustees the city a few years ago took on Ed Roski, who proposed an NFL stadium in nearby Industry, in court. “Is that what you want?” he said.

The odd arrangement came about after Mt. SAC’s Board of Trustees refused to meet with the City Council in joint session or with a board majority. Members of both groups met informally twice but with no resolution.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story GARAGE.

Caltrans lists closings for 60 Freeway paving project

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close portions of SR-60 from the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) to the Orange Freeway (SR-57) separation, as part of a pavement rehabilitation project.  Closures are as follows and subject to change.

 Monday, November 10, through Friday, November 14

Eastbound SR-60

  • 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to three lanes between I-605 & Azusa Avenue
  • 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. – High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane CLOSEDbetween I-605 & Azusa Avenue

Westbound SR-60

  • 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. – Up to three lanes between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
  • 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. – HOV lane CLOSED between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue

 Friday, November 14, through Saturday, November 15

Eastbound SR-60

  • 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.   – Up to three lanes between I-605 & Azusa Avenue
  • 7 p.m. to 9 a.m.     – Seventh Avenue on-ramp CLOSED
  • 12 a.m. to 8 a.m.   – HOV lane CLOSED between Seventh Avenue & Hacienda Boulevard
  • 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. – Connector from north- and southbound I-605 to eastbound SR-60 CLOSED

Westbound SR-60

  • 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.   – Up to three lanes between southbound SR-57 & Azusa Avenue
  • 10 p.m. to 11 a.m. – Fairway Drive and Old Brea Canyon Road on-ramps CLOSED
  • 12 a.m. to 8 a.m.   – HOV lane CLOSED between southbound SR-57 & Nogales Street
  • 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. – Connector from north- and southbound SR-57 to westbound SR-60 CLOSED

Detours will be posted. New pavement will improve mobility and enhance safety for motorists.  Flatiron West Inc. is the contractor on this $121.5 million project which is expected to complete late 2014.

Mt. SAC holds community volunteer fair today

The Mt. San Antonio College Student Life Office will hold a Community Volunteer Fair for local organizations that would like to recruit student volunteers on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Student Life Center patio area, building 9C. 

The fair provides an opportunity for students to engage in public service, obtain hands-on learning experiences, and make a difference in the community.

Some of the organizations that will participate in this year’s event include the AmeriCorps, Covina Public Library, Inland Empire United Way, House of Ruth, Inland Valley Hope Partners, Just Us 4 Youth, Parent’s Place Family Resource & Empowerment Center, Rowland Unified School District Family Resource Center, Think Together, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, and more. 

Mostly Ghostly Halloween Celebration set in Walnut

Walnut has planned some fun events for Halloween.

The Mostly Ghostly Halloween Celebration will be held 6 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 31. The free event will include games, music and a costume contest.

An After Halloween Lot Party will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 1. For $8, continue celebrating the spooky fun with food, music and much more.

Slasher Studios Haunted Maze will be featured 7-9 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Admission is $3 per body.

Teens are invited to “Nightmare on La Puente,” 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 31. The $5 fee includes admission to the Slasher Studios maze and games, music, food, contests and more.

The events will be held at the Walnut Senior Center and its parking lot, 21215 La Puente Road, Walnut.

Basketball camp to benefit young man with cancer in Walnut

On Nov. 2, Uptempo Basketball Academy will be hosting a special fundraiser camp for one of its very own, Uptempo family members, Joey Covarrubias who is battling cancer.

Joey Covarrubias received a basketball scholarship to Cal State Monterey Bay when a month before graduating high school he was diagnosed with the rare cancer Ewing Sarcoma.

Since his diagnosis he has undergone surgery and one round of chemo. We truly hope to help lift him in this challenging time by offering a camp in his honor.

There are two levels of camps being offered. High School Varsity Boys and Girls camp will be held Nov. 2 from 9 am to 12:30 pm at the Walnut Gymnasium, 21003 La Puente Road, Walnut.

A Boys 7th to 9th grade and JV High School level camp will be held from 11 am to 2:30 pm at Walnut High School, 400 N. Pierre Road, Walnut.

Registration for each camp is only $25 a person with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Joey Covarrubias and his family in their fight against Ewing Sarcoma.

There will be a donation box on-site at both locations. To make a donation online and to read more on Joey’s story please visit www.gofundme.com/savingjoey.

To register or for more information contact Coach Chris Encinas at (626) 512-3082.