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Fw: Stakeholders Report & Analysis on Proposal to Locate UDC Community College at Backus (Lamond-Riggs/North Michigan Park/Ft. Totten Campus)

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  • Debbie Smith
    ... From: wkpw3@aol.com Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 8:09 PM Subject: Stakeholders Report & Analysis on Proposal to Locate UDC
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2009
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: wkpw3@...
      Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 8:09 PM
      Subject: Stakeholders Report & Analysis on Proposal to Locate UDC Community College at Backus (Lamond-Riggs/North Michigan Park/Ft. Totten Campus)

      Councilmember Harry L. Thomas, Jr.

      will host the next

      Stakeholders/Community Meeting

      on the

      University of the District of Columbia's Community College Initiative (CCI)

      Wednesday, March 11, 2009

      7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

      North Michigan Park Recreation Center
      13th and Emerson Streets, N.E.
      Washington, DC

      Presentation and Discussion: 
      Stakeholders Report & Analysis on the Proposal to Locate the UDC Community College at Backus Middle School
      (Lamond-Riggs/North Michigan Park/Ft. Totten Campus)

      The Community's Perspective

      The report is attached.  Excerpts from the report are copied below for your convenience.  The one page Executive Summary in the beginning of the report provides a synopsis of the report and can be circulated when needed or convenient instead of the full, detailed report.

      Preserving Backus Middle School
      As an Educational Center
      Stakeholders Report
      on the Proposal to Locate
      The University of the District of Columbia
      Community College at Backus
      The Lamond-Riggs/North Michigan Park/Ft. Totten UDC Campus
      Requirements Analysis
      Draft Preliminary Report, Version 3
      March 5, 2009

      i.                   Executive Summary  
      Stakeholders Report on the Proposed UDC Community College at Backus
      hroughout the United States of America there are community colleges associated with public universities.  Community colleges typically address the needs of the workforce, labor market, students with a high school education or equivalency in need of remedial coursework, students looking for an affordable education before attending a four year college program, and aspiring citizens seeking professional and technical certifications and other professional development at affordable costs. 
      The University of the District of Columbia wants to establish a community college at the now closed Backus Middle School in Northeast Washington, D.C. and is in the process of developing a proposal to lease the public property from the District of Columbia government for this purpose.  UDC believes that Backus is the ideal location for this endeavor and it is working to meet a March 27, 2009 deadline to submit their proposal and, if successful, begin setting up programs for the Fall.
       Ward 5 Councilmember Harry L. Thomas, Jr. initiated a series of meetings to gauge the sentiments and position of residents/stakeholders located primarily in the vicinity of Backus on the viability of a community college at Backus.   The goal is to preserve Backus as an educational center and not to allow it to be used for purposes of which the community would not approve or welcome. 
       The UDC Community College Initiative (CCI) Team made several presentations on their plans for Backus.   Many concerns and issues were raised and continue to be raised.  While the CCI Team gave assurances to the contrary, the community still insists that written statements be provided that guarantee that community college students will be able to transfer their credits to a four year UDC degree program or to other schools of higher education.  The community wants to make sure that the college follows best practices and is designed to be a model, competitive program that meets the values, needs, and interests of D.C. residents.  Furthermore, the community wants to be assured with written statements and policies that the community college will in no way, directly or indirectly, undermine or harm the progress, existence, operations, finances,  and/or future of UDC’s Van Ness main campus and its four year degree programs.
      There is also concern about the direct impact on the neighborhood where Backus is located.  There is concern about parking, traffic, security/public safety, and the additional adult regular visitors to the neighborhood.  Significant development is expected in this Upper Northeast area and it might become quite congested.  Additionally, citizens want to make sure that Backus is environmentally safe and that the physical structure is not drastically transformed or demolished.  Backus should remain public property and under the watchful eye of public officials, the community, and the police. 
      In this report, the community has outlined a host of conditions, caveats, stipulations, and recommendations in order to gain its full support.  As the CCI Team writes the proposal, it is expected that these many of these items will be incorporated into their proposal and UDC/CCI policies.  For instance, stakeholders would like the community college to allow reasonable access to the gymnasium, auditorium, and multipurpose room.  Backus should remain a polling place for Precinct 66.  There should be special programs for seniors and community youth.  There should be community participation on a CCI board or council.  A state of the art computer lab should be open to the community.  Several educational programs have been suggested for the community college.  Office space should be reserved for select community groups, e.g., ANCs.   In conclusion, there is general, qualified, provisional support for the community college.  The community must continue discussions with UDC to ensure compliance.

      ii.                 Special Acknowledgments

      We, concerned citizens, wish to express our appreciation to the following groups and individuals for providing their input at meetings and elsewhere in order to develop this report.  Material for this document has been compiled from various comments at meetings and from a multitude of electronic correspondence.  Leadership on this project was provided by the Office of Councilmember Harry L. Thomas, Jr.  in order to ensure that the voice of community was heard regarding the usage of Backus Middle School.  
      Councilmember Harry L. Thomas, Sr.
      Grace Lewis, Chief of Staff, Office of Councilmember Thomas, Jr.
      University of the District of Columbia Community College Initiative Leadership
      Dr. Eurmon Hervey, CEO/Executive Director of the Community College Initiative (CCI)
      Thomas E. Redmond, Deputy Director, Government Relations, University of the District of Columbia
      Barbara Franklin Jumper, University of the District of Columbia
      Organizations Represented with Representatives/Participants
      North Michigan Park Civic Association
      Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association, Inc.
      Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5A
      Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B Commissioners
      Premier Community Development Corporation (PCDC)
      Queens Chapel Civic Association
      D.C. Federation of Civic Associations
      University of the District of Columbia (retired and current staff, students)
      Those that helped supply information, write, review, provide feedback, and/or edit the community report

      Grace Lewis
      Kathryn A. Pearson-West, PMP
      Patricia Roberts
      Debbie L. Smith
      Hazel Bland Thomas
      Dominique N. A. West

      Nearby/Immediate Neighborhoods (Ward 5 & Ward 4) near Backus Middle School That May Be Impacted

      Ft. Totten
      Michigan Park
      North Michigan Park
      Queens Chapel

      Contributors— Stakeholdersand Meeting Participants that Expressed Pros and Cons of Initiative for Analysis and for Input on the Reuse of Backus

      Camille Alexander
      JoAnn Alston-Dawson
      Harriet Brockington
      Vivica Brooks
      Joseph Bowser
      Lisette Burton
      Lady Patricia Butler
      Lillian Dean
      Caesar Dudley
      Deborah Evans
      Darwin Fishman
      Gretta Fishman
      Katie S. Gaskins
      Edward B. Harrison
      Charon P.W. Hines
      Lillian Huff
      Regina James
      Eric J. Jones
      Dennis Kinard
      Robert King
      Grace Lewis
      Chauncey Maddux
      Ruth Marshall
      Muriel Martin
      Pierpont Mobley
      Gwendolyn Means
      Laura Oldanie
      Kathryn A. Pearson-West
      Philip Premdas
      Patricia Roberts
      Albrette “Gigi” Ransom
      Denise Reed
      Patricia Roberts
      Stephanie Rones
      Debbie L. Smith
      Shirley Riven-Smith
      Jean Smith
      Rose Smith
      Shirley Smith
      Brian Summers
      Hazel Bland Thomas
      Timothy Thomas
      Jamal Turner
      Alice J. Walker
      Sandi Washington
      Dominique N. A. West
      Cherita Whiting
      Ruth Wilson


      1.0   Purpose and General Assumptions

      1.1   Community Interest and Support; Examination of Pros and Cons of Reuse of Backus as Community College.  The purpose of this report is to explore and communicate the community's interests, concerns, and recommendations regarding the possible use of Backus Middle School as a community college, which has been articulated at meetings and through electronic communications.  The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is in the process of developing a proposal to submit by March 27, 2009 (date extended from February 27th) that outlines its initiative for a community college.  The community is charged with providing feedback on this idea so that UDC might consider some of the feedback and recommendations in its proposal and operations.  There is no guarantee that a proposal for the community college at Backus will be accepted by the District of Columbia.
      1.2   Disclaimer.  Note that the all of the ideas and comments presented in this document do not necessarily reflect the sentiments, opinions, and values of each and every meeting participant, contributor, or organization, but do provide an indication of the community‘s perspective on the reuse of Backus as a community college or educational center.
      1.3   General Assumptions.  Concerned citizens appear to be willing to explore the possibility of a community college at Backus, however they are operating with a few general assumptions that they have adopted and with which they are operating in good faith.   The community does not want to do anything that will undermine the mission, function, or future of the UDC.   Furthermore, the community expects that UDC will be able to maintain the building and programs with the dedication of the proper financial and human capital resources.  It also expects a commitment to excellence.  If the assumptions are not met or assurances are not granted, then the community may need to rethink the Community College Initiative to make sure that there is not an adverse impact on the community or on the four year university.  There are several assumptions and conditions that the community are taking for granted and if they are not met, then other stipulations arise or support is limited or threatened with withdrawal.
      1.3.1   Assumption 1.  The community college will not undermine the operations and future of UDC or its land grant status. 
      1.3.2   Assumption 2.   There will be adequate capital, programmatic, and operating funding for the initiation of the community college and in the future during its entire existence, or at least projected through the next ten years.
      1.3.3   Assumption 3.   The UDC proposal has a possible chance of being approved by the Executive Office of the Mayor.
      1.3.4   Assumption 4.   The UDC location on Connecticut Avenue, commonly known as “the Van Ness Campus” will not directly or indirectly be harmed, dismantled, changed, relocated, or placed under duress for the purpose of development.
      1.3.5   Assumption 5.  There is not adequate space on the Van Ness Campus for expansion to include a community college.  The Van Ness campus is expected to utilize the space for other educational endeavors.    
      1.3.6   Assumption 6.   The UDC community college will not have an overall negative impact on the community in which is located.
      1.3.7   Assumption 7.   The community will be able to stay involved in the direction of the community college to protect its own interest in the community in which the college is located.
      1.3.8   Assumption 6.   There is adequate space for the UDC community college at Backus to accommodate the projected enrollment and students and staff will not exceed space allocation.
      2.0   Introduction/Background
      2.2.   Request for Proposals for Reuse of Closed D.C. Public Schools and History of Closure.  Backus Middle School was built in the 1960s to relieve overcrowding at nearby Taft Junior High School.  In 2007, against the wishes of many in the neighborhoods near Backus, the District of Columbia government decided to close the school because of declining enrollment and move the current and future students to the LaSalle School.  The school closed in 2008.  With Backus now closed, along with several other public schools in the District of Columbia, the D.C. government issued a Request for Proposals for interested parties to submit proposals for the use of Backus and several other schools. The original deadline for proposals was February 27, 2009 but was extended to March 27, 2009.
      2.2.   Rationale for a UDC Community College at Backus.  Backus Middle School, a 126,800-square-foot building on 2.91 acres, at 5171 South Dakota Ave. NE (between Galloway and Hamilton Streets), is located near a Federal park and a major Metro station (walking distance) that is a transfer point for the Red, Green, and Yellow lines and ample bus lines.  It spans three wings and three floors.  It has two fenced in parking lots—one large and one small.  Inside are offices, classrooms, gymnasium with locker rooms, a cafeteria, a multipurpose room, an outside terrace, and an auditorium.  It is located in Ward 5, Washington, D.C. 
      2.3   Assessment of Impact of and Interest in UDC Community College.    The UDC Community College Initiative (CCI) Team approached Ward 5 Councilmember Harry L. Thomas, Jr. to let him know of UDC’s interest in using Backus as the site for their proposed community college.  As a result, Councilmember Thomas began hosting meetings to determine the community’s interest and support.   Councilmember Thomas also wanted to make sure that the immediate neighborhood would not be negatively impacted by such a venture.  The first meeting was small and primarily focused on a few neighbors that resided closest to Backus.  It was held at the Lamond-Riggs Recreation Center on February 9, 2009.  Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser attended this meeting.  The next meeting attracting a larger, broader audience was held on February 18, 2009 at the Lamond-Riggs Library.  The third meeting was held on February 28, 2009.  At each meeting, members of the Community College Initiative (CCI) made presentations and answered questions.  Citizens have been encouraged to talk to their organizations about the proposal to gain further insight on what citizens want and expect.
      2.4   Backus as an Educational Center.  The Office of Planning held meetings to determine what the possible re-use of Backus Middle School might be.  One desired use is to use Backus as an educational center.  Many citizens are cool to the idea of developers possibly tearing down the building, converting them to condos, or using it for some business endeavor with which the community might not welcome.  Some citizens are also concerned about the density of projects in the community and therefore prefer to maintain Backus as an educational center, which is along the lines of its original purpose.
      2.5   Brookings Institute Analysis of Need for Community College in District of Columbia. According to a study done by Brookings Institute, community colleges serve a diverse student body from all social and economic backgrounds.  Community colleges have flexible schedules and offerings with a wide array of academic and occupationally-focused certificate and associate programs.  These programs are usually tied to the regional labor market.

      Generally, there are Associate degree programs that have clear, stated agreements with four-year degree programs to facilitate transfers from the Associate degree to a four year college.  Brookings observes that community colleges also provide strong developmental courses for students that may need additional support with their reading, writing, or math skills, which are required for college-level coursework.  Community colleges provide support and guidance services to help students succeed.

      Based on its analysis, the Brookings Institute states that the District needs a community college to carry out the aforementioned types of functions in addition to helping to prepare the workforce.   It notes that not all occupations in the city and surrounding suburbs require a four-year or more degree.   The study states that nearly a third of the jobs in Washington, D.C.  are attainable by workers that have some postsecondary training or a two-year degree, but not a four year college degree.   Brookings cites the Census estimates for 2005 that suggest that more than 111,000 working-age adults in the city have no post-secondary education.   It is noted that too often the D.C. residents with a high school degree or less have higher poverty and unemployment rates than those with some postsecondary education and college degrees.

      Of the 50 largest American cities, Washington is the only one without a fully fledged community college one.   According to Brookings, the District’s only public institution of higher education, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), has with the dual missions of a community college and a state university.   

      Brookings Institute outlines three options for creating a community college in the District: (1) Create a community college within UDC; (2) create a freestanding community college from an incubator institution; or (3) create a community college network that strengthens and ties together sub-baccalaureate offerings at UDC and other institutions in the city and suburbs.   Each of these options would require a substantial commitment from city leaders and major new investments in higher education.  None of the options call for eliminating UDC’s state university functions in favor of a community college mission.   According to the University of the District of Columbia, it has decided to pursue option one and create a community within UDC, only locate it at the closed Backus Middle School.
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