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College of the Desert doesn’t move ahead with new design plans for Palm Springs campus

Friday’s College of the Desert Board of Trustees meeting showed signs of strain as a scheduled review of the college’s west valley campus designs was postponed.

The College of the Desert board of trustees did not move ahead with new design plans for a West Valley Campus in Palm Springs

Instead, there may have been a preview of a battle brewing between board members.

Newly-elected board member and former COD President Joel Kinnamon questioned the capital projects manager Mac McGinnis about the Coachella Chelsea project in Coachella, asking for contractor names and terms of its lease. 

“There are many things in here that have now been eliminated,” said Kinnamon. He cited an accelerator space with flexible classrooms that no longer is part of the project description. Mentioning his earlier 2021 plans, Kinnamon said to McGinness, “I’d like for you to bring them back to the board if you could so we can understand the variances between what’s being proposed and where we were.”

He then said he had 20 to 30 questions to ask of the new plans. 

Check out the proposed design plans below:

There was also a measured but tense exchange with fellow Trustee Bea Gonzalez hinting at a battle over the direction of the Palm Springs campus in the weeks and months ahead.

“So we’ll be discussing how much did you cost us by delaying 2 years,” said Kinnamon to Gonzalez, adding “to pay for Mac McGinnis’ company Mass, WRNS, and we’re going to look at that 60% schematic design and see what it looks like for phase one.” 

“And I’ll give you a history lesson at that next meeting about that and who decided to pull the plug,” said Kinnamon. “ What political influences were in place and the documents to support all of that,” he added.

Gonzalez responded, “I’d love to review all of that. I’d be happy to.”

Kinnamon interrupting, “You’ll find it all very enlightening.”

Bea Gonzalez brought up Desert Hot Springs allocations for improvements the community thought were promised under Kinnamon’s past leadership but had never allocated.  Gonzalez said, “The community was under the impression funding had been set aside that never was.”   

Kinnamon responded by saying that the Palm Springs campus project currently set to be considered is far removed from the past project he’d guided.

“What we’re going to be looking at next week is far removed from the four pillars,” Kinnamon said adding he eventually hopes to have board dialogue, cherry-pick the best from both new and 2021 plans, and move forward and feel good about it.

There has been a great deal of controversy over the delays on a west valley campus as we've covered in the past.

Stay with KESQ News Channel 3 for continuing coverage and read more about the current COD plans here.

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Article Topic Follows: Education

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Jeff Stahl

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