College breaks ground


For The Madera Tribune

Dignitaries break ground on Madera Community College’s Academic Village 2 building, which is expected to be completed for the 2022-2023 school year.

 

Less than a year after becoming the newest accredited junior college in the State Center Community College District, Madera Community College broke ground on a new academic building.


The Academic Village 2 building will become the newest building on the MCC campus, and is a direct result of Madera County voters passing Measure C, a $485 million bond on the 2016 ballot.


“As someone who has been on the board since 2015, I know a lot of work has gone on to get us to this day,”said Bobby Kahn SCCCD Trustee. “There are many people we need to thank for this journey. The one person to say a big thank you to is former chancellor Dr. Bill Stewart. It was his vision when he came to SCCC when he came in 1985 to put education facilities where our students were and not make them drive to the mountains or from Madera to go to the two campuses. It was his vision to start the Madera Community College Center. When he came back and served in an interim capacity, it was his vision to start putting this college on track to become an accredited college.He worked to put Measure C on the 2016 ballot.”


Many dignitaries arrived at the MCC campus to help break ground on the newest building in the 116-school community college system Friday morning, including interim SCCCD chancellor Douglas Houston.


“This is a great day,” Houston said. “It’s a lot of fun to walk into a new job and break ground on a new facility on a growing campus in a growing district that’s serving a community like Madera. Breaking ground on Academic Village 2 is completely funded by Measure C funds. Thank you to the voters of the SCCC district.”


By building a new village, it will help MCC expand and serve more students.


“I also serve in my regular job as the executive director of the Madera County Economic Development Commission,” Kahn said. “I have a personal stake of community college and training and the importance it is to the community. If you want to try to attract businesses to your area, you have to demonstrate you have a qualified workforce and steady stream. So having a community college like this one makes a huge difference.”


Many have seen the progress MCC has made. From one building to portables to an administrative building to an academic building and now a second academic building, MCC will be able to expand its services.


“An investment in our community college makes a huge difference in the lives of our students, their families and local communities,” Kahn said.


MCC President Angel Reyna, who just worked to make MCC an accredited junior college last year, is getting things done in his second year.


“It’s been my honor to serve the students and the community,” Reyna said. “I’m so glad that we’re able to be together. We’ve been in isolation on our campus for the past year.”


Reyna said that the library will move from the administration building and get expanded in Academic Village 2.


“We continue to grow,” Reyna said. “We’re also going to be relocating our nursing program that greatly contributes to our community. It’s going to have state-of-the art facilities so we’re excited about that. We’re going to move our engineering program and criminology, as well. More importantly, we continue to grow and faculty and staff will get office space. It’s critical as we continue to grow. Academic Village 2 is not just a building. It gives us the opportunity to serve more students.


“At Madera Community College and the SCCCD, we know the value we provide our students and community. We know the role we play in supporting our students and transforming their lives.”


Darden Architects, Inc was awarded the contract to be the project’s architects. Bob Petithomme wants the new building to serve both the community and the students at the college.


“As architects, we approach our educational projects to develop a building and create something to enrich students and the culture of the campus,” he said. “This building will add something special. It will take both of those concepts in account.”


Pettithomme said the building will help the students engage, grow and enrich, but also bring people to MCC.


“The building not only focuses inwardly on the central core of the campus to bring the campus together,” he said. “It is also intended to focus outwardly to bring the community in and showing the welcomeness that is offered at Madera Community College.


“It’s going to be a striking building, probably the very first view of the campus that is seen by visitors traveling Avenue 12. We wanted to take the opportunity given to us to create a statement to show the bright future ahead of Madera Community College.”


BMY Construction Group was awarded the contract in April and the project is scheduled to be completed by the 2022-2023 school year.


“This building will be enriching lives and making lives better,” Kahn said.


U.S. Congressman Jim Costa spoke about how important education and the ability to get a college education is.


“We’re a nation of immigrants, past and present,” he said. “My mom wanted to make sure her children got an education. She said if you have an education, you can never have that taken away from you.”


Costa also spoke of a master plan created in the 1950s to create an education system that helped all in California who wanted an education.


“In the 1950s, the master plan was created,” he said. “The great success we see in California today is because of the master plan. We’re going to create a three-tiered level of education in California that unsurpassed is not like anything else in the country. We’re going to create a system of community colleges with easy access and little cost. We’re going to create a state university system that will complement the University of California. We’re going to make it seamless so you can go from community college to state university to the University of California.”


Costa anticipates the growth of the MCC campus and can’t wait to see the affect the school will have on Madera, the Central Valley and California.


“This is going to grow and grow and provide a center of excellence of education, not only for Madera, but for the people of the Valley and the people of California,” he said. “That’s why this is a great day for all of us.”


Madera County Board of Supervisor Brett Frazier was one in the audience that had classmates get the opportunity to attend the Madera Center when it was newly formed.


“This is something that I’ve seen grow from the time I was in high school when the first buildings went up,” he said. “They just started the classes. I know that none of my classmates would or could come here. They went to Merced and Reedley. Now, you see the building and this is the place to go.


“I’ve seen the hope this institution has brought to students. For years, it was like an extension of high school because of the buildings. We hadn’t had the huge investment on this campus. As more buildings came, you could see the difference in the kids in the community’s faces of pride when they came to this campus. They were here to make a difference for them and their community. It’s great to see. This is an area that continues to grow and will be a big part of Madera for years to come.’


Frazier also announced an Amtrak station relocation that will connect the high-speed rail with Amtrak.


“It will be the only place where high speed rail and Amtrak meet and it will only be a half-mile from here,” he said.


Frazier pointed out that Madera County was willing to tax itself to be able to help expand MCC.


“We said we want to tax ourselves to be able to provide that investment into our kids,” he said. “When you bring beautiful buildings like this out of the ground, you’re only going to get us to raise our hands more and say we want to continue to invest. The community college system is there to take kids, train them, teach them to reach their goals. That’s why we’re so proud.”


Madera Mayor Santos Garcia has a personal connection with the college. Not only was he raised about a mile from the campus, two of his daughters and wife were students at the college and got their degrees. His wife was proud to say she was on the Dean’s List.


“We are very passionate in the Garcia family about education,” he said. “I am thankful for the growth of this institution. It’s personal for us to have this connection.”


Garcia and Costa presented Reyna with proclamations from the City of Madera and the U.S. Congress for the momentous occasion.