News : Party lines

Some good news at the Guad, & the Parks Board goes shopping

“Architects are quite necessary,” a Current reader wrote after she read last week’s column. “However, they are not evil by nature. It would make much more interesting columns to research how architectural firms actually work and get beyond these fantasies of what goes on behind the scenes.

“The design community would appreciate a more balanced view of our profession and I’m sure your readers would benefit from realizing the demands placed upon design firms,” she continued.

“And besides, what’s wrong with having a new Texas A&M campus on the South Side?”

Absolutely nothing, if the Texas Legislature and A&M regents can be persuaded to fund it through tuition-revenue bonds. But the project cannot move forward without support in College Station.

By the way, Party Lines did not disrespect architects last week, except to erroneously label Henry Muñoz of the Kell-Muñoz architecture firm an architect. The reader says he is a partner in Kell-Muñoz.

Any architects who would like to participate in a university project should take a good hard look at the downtown campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio. There is no student housing, nor is there an adequate student center where young scholars can gather to meet their peers. There are no coffee shops, no movie houses, no wide avenue for the students to stroll along and enjoy their campus.

Building a college campus that would actually function as a college campus is a worthwhile project for the City’s idle architects to consider.

In other business, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center President Bret Ruiz informed the board of directors that a recent citizen uproar over tuition hikes for classes at the Guadalupe was unfounded.

It seems that some unknown person`s` printed and distributed fliers that showed hikes in tuition for dance, art, and other classes at the West Side arts center. “A false flier got out there. We tracked them down and destroyed them,” explained Ruiz. “We’re serving 700 students per month. There was no increase in tuition.” Ruiz added that he has no clue who printed the fliers and distributed them.

“That explains the uproar over the tuition increase,” said board member Patricia Celis.

Board member Laura Hernandez urged Ruiz to inform the board “when you see programs attacked, and you have information” that proves otherwise.

Ruiz and the Guad’s board have been under pressure to resign, due in part to several terminations that occurred during the first six months of Ruiz’s tenure at the GCAC. But last week, the board received some good news from public-relations consultants Ken Slavin and May Escobedo, who are handling the marketing and publicity for the upcoming 25th Annual Tejano/Conjunto Festival. “We feel really good about the festival,” Escobedo said, adding that people from all over the state are planning their vacations around the shindig.

Slavin said the seeds of publicity were planted months ago, and the event has been covered around the country, including a report on Hollywood Reporter Online. The Festival takes place May 10-14 at the Guadalupe Theater and Rosedale Park

On the conservation front, Parks and Recreation Director Malcolm Matthews convened the Conservation Advisory Board last week to determine where to purchase Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone land using the $90 million that voters approved in previous elections.

The board identified Highway 181 as an eastern boundary on the zone, and decided to focus on the recharge strip from San Antonio to Uvalde County. “Let’s go after the best stuff we can get,” Matthews told the board, which gave its scientific evaluation team the green light to search for suitable property to protect in the recharge zone.

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