A ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony was held Feb. 5 for a new, three-story Student Services Building at Cuyamaca College that promises to be a welcoming gateway to the campus and a central, go-to location for students to get help in multiple ways.
A small group of college and district administrators and construction representative gathered for the ceremonial dirt toss at the Rancho San Diego campus livestreamed for public viewing.
College President Julianna Barnes described the 36,000-square-foot center as a long-awaited hub for students to engage and receive support services, such as counseling, financial aid, admissions, disability support, and Extended Opportunities Programs and Services and CalWORKS.
“This will be a place that feels like home,” she said, adding that the estimated $34.2 million construction project includes new sustainable landscaping and reconstruction of pathways to meet ADA accessibility standards.
Chancellor Lynn Neault, who spent many years as a student services administrator before her current post at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, recognized the center’s significance to the campus.
“What an exciting day to celebrate the 40-plus-year history of Cuyamaca College and, thanks to taxpayers, to be able to continue building its future,” she said. “I’ve dedicated my entire career to serving students and I know how important this state-of-the-art building will be for our students.”
Prop. V funding
Construction, which is expected to continue till summer 2022, will be funded by Proposition V, a $398 million bond approved by East County voters in 2012. Bond funds have enabled the district to continue the work on the college campuses that began after the 2002 passage of Prop. R, which resulted in the construction or renovation of 13 major facilities.
Recently completed Prop. V projects include a $ 44 million Performing and Visual Arts Center and $13.2 million Phase 1 of the Science Math and Career Technology complex at Grossmont College, and at Cuyamaca College, a $4.2 million Student Center and Veterans Services renovation, and $17 million renovation currently underway of the Ornamental Horticulture Complex and Building M.
In a statement read by the chancellor, Governing Board President Brad Monroe thanked taxpayers for their continuing support and noted that a recent economic impact study reflects the mutual benefit to the public and the college district. The report found that the district has added more than $1.1 billion annually to the regional economy.
“This Student Services building will demonstrate to the community that their investment in us was well-spent,” Monroe, a retired founding faculty member of the college. “This building will serve tens of thousands of students in the years to come.”
Vice President of Student Services Jessica Robinson said the facility is one the college community has dreamed about for years as a way to make student services a more centralized function.
“Our new building will now be connected by a bridge to our Student Center and in the main area of campus,” she said. “Right now our Student Services offices are clear across the other end of the campus and isolated from the campus hub and activities.
“Student Services plays a huge role in our students’ educational journey and success. As a Cuyamaca alumna I can attest to the quality of support students receive at Cuyamaca. Our team works hard to provide help to students both in and out of the classroom and this building will ensure we have a supportive, one-stop facility for all our student needs for decades to come.”
Cuyamaca College has served the community since 1978 and currently enrolls about 9,000 students annually.
For more information about the colleges and the district, go to www.gcccd.edu.