Thursday, February 07, 2008

Student Center Opens At SCC

Student Center Opens At SCC
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/07/2008

One day after a state proposition that would have benefited community colleges failed at the polls, a spanking new Student Services Center opened Wednesday at Solano Community College.

Gerry Fisher, superintendent and president at the college, welcomed students, faculty, staff and the community to the grand opening of the center Wednesday afternoon.

"A lot of people put a lot of work into this," Fisher said of the center. "This is really all about the students. They're really going to benefit from this."

"This building is in response to what the students' needs are," added Lisa Waits, Vice President for Student Services. "People here care about the students and there is a sense of pride."

Although the building isn't quite finished - there's still landscaping work to be done - Fisher and others are pleased with the outcome.

"It looks pretty good to me," he said. "We're finally here and it works just like we anticipated."

Fisher explained that the building focuses on the services the college provides for the students. The new two-story, 37,000 square-foot facility houses, among other things, admissions and records, a campus information center, counseling, financial aid and six classrooms.

"The open atrium allows students to see all the services from one spot," he said. "It's a great facility.

The people and the layout of the building really work together."
Student Body President Harjot Sandhu agreed.

"Its really the sum of all the different student services," he said. "The students won't have to go all over campus because the services are now conveniently in one place."

The $15.5 million project is fully funded by Measure G, a bond passed in 2002.

"This is really a big thank you to the voters who passed Measure G," said SCC Board President Phil McCaffrey. "This is the second of three crowns."

Solano Community College recently opened a new facility in Vallejo, followed by the opening of the Students Services Center in Fairfield. The college is also looking to expand its facility in Vacaville.

The grand opening came on the heels of a defeated Proposition 92.

The proposition, which failed with 57 percent "no" votes, would have established in the state constitution a system of independent public community college districts and Board of Governors.

Generally, it would require minimum levels of state funding for school districts and community college districts to be calculated separately.

It would also have set community college fees at $15 per unit per semester and would have limited future fee increases.

"I'm sad it didn't pass," Fisher said. "I think it's time for the community colleges to be recognized on their own. We just haven't achieved the support that we deserve."

Fisher credits the failure as a "sign of the times."

"Maybe in another time we could have a different result," he said. "We'll still need the ongoing support. There are a lot of challenges ahead because of the state budget."

Still, the failed proposition didn't damper any moods Wednesday afternoon.

"This is just the beginning for our students," Waits said. "This is a very exciting time for all of us."

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

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