NATIONAL CITY, Calif. – Southwestern College leaders and students dedicated the new Plaza Building at the Higher Education Center at National City Thursday—doubling the educational space of the center.
In cutting the ribbon on the $22 million, two-story structure, college and city officials talked about the partnerships that made the new facility possible.
“There were extensive efforts on the part of National City supporters to ensure that the land for this project was available,” said Dean Chris Perri, adding that the vision of previous administrators like former Provost Bill Kinney and former Southwestern College Governing Board members laid the foundation for the center.
The new building opened this semester with four new science labs, a medical assisting clinic, a large lecture classroom and a community room, where the event’s reception was held. Also new to the project is a plaza and a second-story outdoor terrace that will provide places for students to sit, study and socialize between classes.
The new labs allow National City to expand its courses to offer in-demand anatomy, physiology, chemistry and microbiology labs. Inside the medical assisting clinic, students get the full experience of becoming a medical assistant, including simulated waiting rooms and simulated clinical exercises and practices. On the floor above it, the corner lecture room can hold more than 50 students for large classes, like biology lectures.
College and city officials called the project transformative for the community.
“Just like construction projects run into obstacles, so do our students,” said Southwestern College Governing Board President Griselda Delgado. “But through education, our students build new lives for themselves and their families.”
Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo called the Higher Education Center at National City an economic engine for the community.
“In National City we have the Center for International Trade Development, the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center, the Small Business Development Center and the South San Diego Small Business Development Center,” Murillo said. “Together we help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and compete globally.”
The project is funded by Proposition R, Southwestern College’s $389 million general obligation bond passed by South Bay voters in November, 2008. Proposition R also funded a remodel of the Center for Business Advancement, which was dedicated last year, and which houses the four different small business development organizations mentioned in Murillo’s speech.