The Coast News Group
Palomar Community College celebrates the official grand opening of the new humanities building on Oct. 10. Photo by Aaron Burgin
Palomar Community College celebrates the official grand opening of the new humanities building on Oct. 10. Photo by Aaron Burgin

College celebrates official grand opening of humanities building

SAN MARCOS — The Palomar Community College District community celebrated a homecoming of sorts last week, as it celebrated the completion of a humanities building some decades in the making.

The $34 million building has actually been open since the beginning of the fall semester, but the Oct. 10 grand opening was the first time college administrators, board members, teachers, students and the community were able to formally celebrate the project’s completion.

The festivities included self-guided tours of the classrooms, which includ state of the art amenities and technology.

“I know it has been a long time coming, but welcome home,” college Superintendent Robert Deegan said.

The sleek 90,000-square-foot, 3-story building will house the college’s English and Humanities, English as a Second Language, Reading Services, Speech Communication, World Languages and journalism programs, which were once scattered across the campus, several in portable classrooms.

“This means a lot because many of the buildings on the campus were built in the ‘50s and ‘60s,” said Ron Perez, the college district’s assistant superintendent of finance and administrative services. “We’re getting rid of those old classrooms with modern technology that meets the needs of today’s students.”

Several speakers at the ceremony talked about the long arduous process took to design the building and bring all of the disciplines together under one roof.

“And now some of you are finally seeing that place you were promised when you were interviewed 30 years ago,” college assistant superintendent Berta Cuaron said.

The project marks the halfway point of the district’s $694 million building campaign, which was financed by the voter-approved Proposition M in 2006. Several projects, including the new health sciences building, multimedia lab and planetarium and theater remodel, have been completed.

Proposition M authorized the college district to assess properties $25 for every $100,000 of assessed property value, but district officials said they are only assessing half that amount and still on time and on budget with its projects.

Among the next projects to be completed in the Prop M campaign include the baseball field relocation and the childcare center, which will be completed in spring and summer 2015, respectively.

“Projects like this are showing that we and the community are investing the community and the kids’ future,” Perez said. “It reaffirms our commitment to provide a quality education for future generations.”