Exploring The Richland College Garland Campus

On Monday, July 31, 2017 Lucas Cervellini and I made an impromptu visit to what has become known as the Richland College Garland Campus on Walnut and Glenbrook. We were seeking information on classes and classroom availability.

A very helpful young man stationed at the reception desk was very informative and explained that there are no college credit courses being offered at this location. They can, however, refer a potential student to classes being conducted at other DCCCD campuses. The courses available at this location are vocational Workforce classes. Work Force is a federally funded program, so these classes are free to the participants. One does have to go to the main Richland campus and qualify for the Work Force classes.

The young Richland staff member introduced himself as Tracy, and offered to give us a tour. We learned that there is a very large portion of the classroom wing devoted to a machine shop. There are five classrooms, one of which is being used for storage. Two of the classrooms have equipment for blue print making and what appeared to be computers. The two vacant classrooms can be rented, or used by corporations for training purposes. There were people in the classroom with the office equipment, and we were told that they were Walmart employees learning “retail”. There were also people using the machines in the machine shop.

The gallery is an open area with a curved wall of windows , available for events that can accommodate up to 340 guests. There is no full kitchen, but there is a room furnished with a microwave and refrigerator, which can be used by caterers. There are 2 conference rooms in the classroom wing, and this seemed like a perfect venue for those service clubs in Garland always looking for meeting spaces. There are also special events that are often referred to event centers out of town due to the lack of accommodations in Garland. When I asked Tracy about renting the conference rooms and the event space, he said he would have to send us to Rick, whose office was on the other side of the building.

Lucas, who teaches art, was interested in renting one of those very attractive classrooms for conducting classes once a week. Rick informed Lucas that he could rent a classroom at the rate of $40 per hour, from Monday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm. There is a 4 hour minimum and the rates increase if the classroom were to be used anytime outside business hours. I asked if they would lower those rates for community service organizations, and was told they can made no exceptions to the rules. I asked Rick, for example, “ If our Mayor, Douglas Athas, who is very involved with Boy Scouts, should ask to use the gallery for a special BSA event, would you then make an exception?” Rick once again asserted that they cannot make exceptions, and that the scouts would be charged the same as everyone else. We did not ask for the rental rates for the conference rooms or the gallery.

Both Lucas and I came away from this visit with the impression that there was no particular interest shown in addressing the needs of the community in which this vocational school is located. We intend to keep gathering information on the Richland facility. The design and construction of this beautiful building has been award winning. It was completed in 2009 and is shared by the Garland Chamber of Commerce. Since there are no college classes taught there, the title, “Richland College Garland Campus” is a misnomer. Richland Vocational Center would be a more appropriate title for this building and parking lot.

Nancy Ghirla nghirla331@gmail.com