“With the acute challenges facing our legislators in Sacramento, we appreciate Assemblywoman Strickland taking time out of her busy schedule to visit the campus and get a taste of what we’re doing to help serve the community and boost our local economy,” Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook said.
Highlighting the visit was a behind-the-scenes look at the still-under-construction Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center facility.
“I’m always impressed by College of the Canyons and their willingness to push forward and bring new ideas to reality,” Assemblywoman Strickland said.
Scheduled to open this fall, the 110,000-square-foot building overlooks the Valencia campus, and sits perched above Interstate 5, positioned to command a spectacular view of the valley’s majestic mountains and blue-sky horizon.
With construction workers still completing various projects throughout the three-story building, Strickland and Van Hook were accompanied by Scott Wilk, College of the Canyons board member; Dena Maloney, Founding Dean, Canyon Country Campus; Jim Schrage, Vice President, Physical Plant and Facilities Planning; Eric Harnish, Director of External Relations; and Greg Millspaugh, construction manager, for a tour of the various classrooms, office spaces and additional educational facilities.
Cited as the solution to the lack of upper-division, graduate school and continuing education programs in the area, the University Center was created to increase student access to advanced degrees by forging partnerships with four-year colleges and universities, which make their academic programs available to students on the College of the Canyons campus.
“The University Center will be a tremendous resource in boosting a local economy as it helps people achieve their educational goals and advance in their careers,” Van Hook said. “Degrees and credentials our community’s residents need will now be accessible locally.”
Also slated to move into the new facility are Academy of the Canyons, the Early
College High School, the COC Foundation, the college’s Professional Development department, the Institute of Teaching and Learning, the office of Community and Continuing Education, and the Economic Development Division — which encompasses the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies, the Employee Training Institute and the i3 Advanced Technology Incubator.
“With so many different but complementary functions housed in the University Center, it’s clear that new synergies will be created to the benefit of the community,” Strickland said.
“We’re proud to partner with the William S. Hart Union High School District and offer high school students the chance to get a jump-start on college through the innovative programs available through the Early College High School and Academy of the Canyons,” Van Hook said.
Before touring the University Center, Strickland had the opportunity to visit the nursing laboratories and Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) office located in the state-of-the art Aliso Laboratory, which opened in fall 2007.
She viewed a classroom demonstration featuring the use of the nursing department’s electronic mannequin ‘patient simulators.’ The equipment demonstrates how the use of technology allows students to practice their skills in a realistic setting while receiving critical patient feedback and response — including audible responses and simulated physiological responses like change of pulse, heart rate and other vital signs.
Strickland was also shown the college’s environmentally friendly Central Plant facility located near Mentry Hall.
A Central Plant contains chillers, boilers and cooling towers that serve as a single source of supply for hot water (heating both air and potable water) and chilled water (for cooling air) that supplies multiple buildings from a central location — all controlled by a sophisticated computer system that continually and automatically adjusts its controls to provide the most energy efficient levels possible.
In fact, the campus features there of these plants. Combined, they serve all of the college’s current buildings and facilities, with enough reserve capacity for the entire build-out of the campus. Additionally, the Central Plants are equipped with co-generation capabilities, where the college produces its own electrical power via natural gas fired generators. The co-generation units use the waste heat from the exhaust to produce both hot and cold water for normal central plant functions.
Providing a dramatic reduction in the college’s power costs, the Central Plant and co-generation projects have been so efficient that the college routinely receives annual gas and electric utility rebates of roughly $1 million, via an energy saving program initiated by the California Community College System.