Monday, June 19, 2006

Celebrate Success of Measure G School Bond

Celebrate Success of Measure G School Bond
By Paulette J. Perfumo

In November 2002, voters within Solano County successfully passed Measure G, a $124.5 million bond for new college facilities plus upgrades to the existing campus infrastructure that are targeted for completion in 2010. The bond includes funds for new Vallejo and Vacaville Centers, which will offer modern classrooms and computer labs to meet the educational needs of the expanding Solano County population.

With the current and expected growth of Solano County and the increasing I-80 traffic congestion, these new facilities will offer students an easy commute to classes near their homes or work.

Our students and faculty need improved, state-of-the-art facilities to enhance learning, and it was a Governing Board decision to provide the leadership to make this happen. I am proud that we were able to realize our goal and are in the process of providing quality facilities for students throughout Solano County.

We have recently reached another milestone toward the full realization of the completed project with completion of Phase II of our multi-year modernization program. Phase II work includes remodeling of swing space (building 1800B), Business and Computer Science Division (Building 500), the Science Department (building 300), and Math and Engineering (building 1500) under the management of Kitchell CEM.

All parts of this phase are on the existing Fairfield campus, originally built in 1971. Portions of the Swing Space Building have been transformed from warehouse to finished space, providing eight "smart classrooms" and 15 faculty office spaces. In other buildings, classrooms have been updated, along with flooring and ceilings, installation of new lab casework and exhaust hoods and new high- and low-voltage systems to accommodate technology. New restrooms and ADA modifications have also been completed as part of the campus modernization projects.

Other new construction and renovation projects on the Fairfield campus include a new student learning center, new sports complex, comprehensive remodel of the existing Learning Resource Center, modernization of two additional buildings, new restrooms and the construction of a new office annex for faculty and staff.

Future phases include new centers in Vallejo and Vacaville that will allow the District to expand course offerings and services to the residents of Vallejo, Benicia, Vacaville and all of Solano County.

The two centers will house classrooms, science and computer laboratories, bookstores, theatre rehearsal space, art exhibit areas, outdoor spaces and student services.

The Vallejo Center, located at 545 Columbus Parkway, is an exciting and much needed teaching facility for Vallejo residents, who were strong supporters of Measure G. The District has broken ground on the 40,000-square-foot center on 10 acres owned by the District. The new Center will be an "educational hub" for the community and is projected to open in Fall 2007.

The campus works with the existing natural landscape and preserves views to the northern hills and the bay, and includes facilities which are flexible to accommodate multiple uses and future growth. It will include 15 classrooms, a large lecture hall, computer lab, learning lab, multi-use room, fine arts facilities, faculty office space and a wide array of programs to meet general educational requirements.

The Vacaville Center will mirror the Vallejo facility in size and services. It will be built on 60 acres owned by the District. Plans to break ground are set for Spring 2007, with completion of this facility projected to be Spring 2009. In both Vallejo and Vacaville, in addition to the regular curriculum, the District plans to partner with area four-year colleges to provide the opportunity for students to continue their pursuit of higher education at the same facility.

In Vacaville, we completed an extensive renovation of a hangar used by SCC for the aeronautics program at Nut Tree Airport in 2005 in order to consolidate the entire program into one location. Changes included the addition of new offices, a data room and new storage space. The aeronautics program provides hands on training on real aircraft.

Numerous renovation projects have been completed and are planned at the Fairfield campus which are modernizing and updating the aging facility. Completed projects include the renovation of 12 tennis courts which opened in September 2004 and the opening of the science and business centers this past fall.

Through careful planning and monitoring, the projects have come in on time and on budget. It is heartening to see how far the District has come in such a short period of time. We can be proud of the fine educational facilities that the voters are supporting in Solano County.

Paulette Perfumo, Ph.D., is the superintendent and president of Solano College.

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