LBCC acting superintendent-president Ann-Marie Gabel

LBCC acting superintendent-president Ann-Marie Gabel.

It’s time for a local institution’s check-up. And acting superintendent-president Ann-Marie Gabel will help lead the way.

The State of Long Beach City College (LBCC) will have its annual State of the College at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at its liberal arts campus, off Clark Avenue and East Carson Street. Speeches from Gabel, LBCC District Board of Trustees President Virginia Baxter, LBCC Executive Vice President Lou Anne Bynum and LBCC Academic Senate President Karen Kane are among the festivities.

“I’m just going to cover some of the highlights of where the college has been in the past year,” Gabel said, saying she didn’t have a draft of her speech as of earlier this week.

Gabel took the helm in December 2016, after Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley — who had the position since 2007 — moved to the chancellorship of California Community Colleges. She was vice president of administrative services, overseeing fiscal affairs, issues related to college facilities, emergency services and technology matters for the community college district. She has had the job since 2007 and is a certified public accountant.

“I’m enjoying it,” Gabel said of her acting role. “It’s very different from my vice president position. It’s new and I’m learning things. And it’s kind of fun to take over the role for the short time that I’m doing it.”

Gabel added she didn’t want the job permanently and would resume her previous position when Ortiz Oakley’s replacement is found. LBCC officials said they hope to do so by March, with the new person starting by July 1.

“This time of the year is a quiet time for us,” she said. “But I’ve done some things… I finished a video welcoming students back to college (spring semester Feb. 6 to June 7). It’ll be playing on the (entrance) screens.”

Although she already was involved in the community in her vice president role, Gabel said there were some things she had to adjust to.

“I’ve been getting used to press questions,” Gabel said. “But (communications and college advancement’s) John (Pope) and Stacey (Toda) will tell me, ‘We need to talk to this person.’ I’m not a super-outgoing person, but I’m trying to get better at it.”

As of earlier this week, Gabel said she knew some items she’d likely note at Friday’s event. Those include: searching for a superintendent-president, upgrading facilities, success stories of various staff/faculty, Long Beach College Promise, scholarships, economic development and more.

“We’ve got some fantastic things going on,” Gabel said.

Of the search for superintendent-president, she said there were 29 applicants.

“We’ll have the first round of interviews in February, then we’re going to have open forums on campus to narrow down to the finalists,” she added, noting the board of trustees likely would select someone by the end of February.

Gabel also said she’d talk about the voters’ approval of an $850 million bond (Measure LB) in June 2016 to upgrade buildings. The bond enables LBCC to complete its facilities master plan stretching to 2041. The college began a facilities upgrade in 2002, with a voter-approved $176 million bond — one Ortiz Oakley said “wasn’t much more than a band aid.”

Some of the renovations within the last year include the liberal arts campus’s Building D, which houses science programs. About 17,512 square feet of the 27-000-square-foot area is under construction, with new classrooms and lab areas, paint and updates on the first and second floors taking place. The project began in September and was expected to take about 18 months to complete.

A finished project was the liberal arts campus’s Building C, which houses nursing students. The building now is able to train 240 students per semester instead of 214 using simulation labs, as well as three patient care rooms linked to a control room, a larger skills laboratory and has more space: from 5,424 to 6,748 square feet.

Other things Gabel said she’d talk about include degrees and certificates awarded — about 414 certificates and 1,307 associate’s degrees in June 2016.

The college also released its 2016-2022 strategic plan, Gabel said, which has four goals: accelerate/close gaps in equitable achievement of students’ educational/career goals; improve/accelerate college readiness for student groups; cultivate respect, inclusion, support of internal/external communities, lead efforts to align/innovate resources impacting economic/educational/social outcomes for the community; and focus resources on processes/structures/practices supporting transformation.

Of course, the College Promise is one of the bigger topics, she said.

“I would just like to see us continue on the College Promise program,” Gabel said. “And I hope we can continue to bring in new ideas and practices that help students.”

For more information, visit www.lbcc.edu.

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com.

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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