May 20, 2004
INFORMATION: John McElwain or John Green, (661) 362-3494 or 3684
State Reviews Planned Educational Center in Canyon Country
SACRAMENTO The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has reviewed a proposal by the Santa Clarita Community College District to develop a permanent, full-service educational center in Canyon Country.
The Board of Governors reviewed the proposal May 3 and is expected to grant its final approval on July 12. The college hopes to open the center in 2006.
The Canyon Country Educational Center would create additional educational opportunities in the eastern Santa Clarita Valley, an area where 32 percent of College of the Canyons students already live.
Research conducted for the colleges most recent strategic plan shows more than 18 percent of students reside in Canyon Country and nearly 14 percent live in Saugus.
We have been planning for a new center for a long time, said Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, superintendent-president of the district and college. Im really pleased that well be able to provide educational services to the eastern portion of our community. This should reduce cross-valley traffic and provide a level of convenience and access that has not been available before.
The new educational center, to be temporarily housed in some 30,000 square feet of modular structures acquired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, would replace the districts existing ACCESS center in the Canyon Country library.
In addition to the fact that a significant percentage of students live in the eastern valley, enrollment trends suggest that the main Valencia campus will near its capacity by the end of the decade.
College of the Canyons has experienced phenomenal growth, with current enrollment surpassing 14,000 students, more than double that of a decade ago. The new center is projected to enroll 4,648 students when it opens in 2006, exceeding the threshold requirements for new centers. It is expected to grow steadily thereafter.
More than 30 potential sites for the educational center were reviewed by the Canyon Country Educational Center Site Selection Committee, an ad-hoc group composed of Canyon Country residents and community leaders.
Of those potential sites, two emerged as favorites. Both sites will require extensive infrastructure improvements, including excavation, grading, water mains, power extensions and vehicular access. The cost for this work is estimated at about $20 million, not including the acquisition of at least 50 buildable acres.
The district is currently negotiating with the land owners to work out purchase details. One of the properties is located 1.3 miles north of the interchange of Sand Canyon Road and State Route 14; the other is located about two miles north of Sierra Highway near Vasquez Canyon Road.
Funding for land acquisition, site development and initial facilities would be financed with bond proceeds from Measure C, the $82.1 million bond measure approved by Santa Clarita Valley voters in 2001.