Simon Barros was hired in August 1977 as Ohlone’s first Electrician and retired as Director of Facilities in December 2007, after over 30 years dedicated and accomplished service.
Simon was hired as the first Electrician for the college in 1977 and became Assistant Director of Facilities in 1989 and Director in 1991. His total service at the college spanned 30 years, half was which as Director of Facilities. Simon was well-known for his devoted and steadfast stewardship of the facilities and grounds on the Fremont Campus.
Simon took great pride in the campus grounds and it was extremely important to him that the campus look pristine for the first day of classes. He made sure that every classroom and outside area was perfect so students arriving on campus would really be pleased with their choice of college. Before he would go home the day before classes would begin, he would literally walk every inch of the campus to be sure it was perfect.
Simon played a key role in emergency preparedness for the campus, assisting in all aspects including identifying the command center and its coordination with those out in the field in an emergency. Without fail, he was always one of the first on the scene of any emergency.
During his tenure as Director of Facilities, Simon provided leadership and expertise in the planning and implementation of several significant construction projects. During the actual construction of the projects, he was the key point person for the campus ensuring the best interests of the campus. The Site Safety Project involved building the emergency loop road around the upper campus connecting. The Instructional Computing Center, later named Hyman Hall, was a facility to house an instructional computer center on the first floor and the English Reading and Writing Centers on the second floor. He was also involved with the planning and construction of the Child Development Center.
While the college operated the Newark Ohlone Center in leased space at the MacGregor school site, Simon was involved overseeing numerous facilities improvement including installation of air conditioning in the classrooms, addition of a portable facility for faculty offices, creation of four computer labs, and many other projects. The facilities improvements made at the MacGregor site accommodated enrollment growth that led to the 2001 passage of the Measure A bond measure that included a new campus in Newark, a Student Services Building on the Fremont Campus, and other important other Fremont projects.
Simon was an important part of the planning and construction of the Newark Campus. Simon was an instrumental leader in achieving a Platinum LEED rating, the highest rating level, for that facility. He assisted in oversight of several Fremont Campus Measure A projects, such as a new gym floor, and the conversion of two GP classrooms to a biotechnology lab (which also laid the ground work for labs at the new campus in Newark). Simon also provided input into the planning of the Student Services Building. The successful implementation of Measure A laid a firm foundation for the district to the Measure G bond passed.
Simon considered the many men and women in the facilities department his family. He was always available to each of them both on and off campus if they were ever going through a tough patch in their lives.
For over 30 years Simon was a source of consistent and reliable leader, serving four college Presidents, in the ongoing maintenance and operations of existing facilities and the planning and implementation of new facilities.