3,000 students jump at the chance to take east side classes
On Monday morning, College of the Canyons opened the doors to their brand new Canyon Country campus.
While the campus officially opened on Monday, the College had a ribbon cutting ceremony this afternoon. The event included speeches from President of the Santa Clarita Community College District Michele Jenkins, Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar, and VP of Physical Plant and Facilities planning for COC, Jim Schrage. In addition, COC Superintendent Dr. Diane Van Hook was on hand to offer her thoughts for the audience.
The new campus will help to provide additional options for students. Not only can students now choose to attend classes on the east side of Santa Clarita, but it also simply opens more classrooms. COC has seen double digit enrollment growth for years, and has been named the fastest growing community college in the nation by Community College Week.
The permanent campus buildings will be paid for by Measure M, which was passed in November, 2006, and construction should start on those in 2009. The 70 acre parcel of land was purchased using Measure C money. So far the east campus temporary accommodations include twenty three classrooms and five laboratories.
The process of bringing a second campus to the College of the Canyons family has been on the agenda since the early 90’s. Since then, COC has offered additional classes at Canyon and Golden Valley High schools and the Jo Ann Darcy Library.
High school students too, are set to benefit from the new campus. The site is home to the new Early CollegeHigh School, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Early College High School has eighty five 9th grade students.
IMPORTANT TRAFFIC UPDATE: Currently, no left turns are permitted when exiting the COC Canyon Country campus at Sierra Highway. Sgt. Rich Cohen of the LA County Sheriff's Department told KHTS that deputies are on the scene enforcing this. Also, Cohen says that there are concerns over the speeds at which drivers are traveling on Sierra Highway, so they are patrolling for that as well. In fact the through traffic speed on Sierra Highway is a major reason that left turns are not allowed from the campus, because a mix of the new traffic pattern and high speed drivers could prove dangerous to motorists.
In three weeks, traffic signals are expected to be operational in that area, and left turns will be allowed at that time.
For now, Cohen says that Sand Canyon road would be a good detour, as it will bring drivers back to Soledad Canyon Road. U-turns could also be an option, however Sgt. Cohen warns that there are areas where U-turns are not legal on Sierra Highway. U-turns can also be dangerous.
Photos by Bruce Fortine, Mike Dowler and Sharon Bronson