By Dr. Sunita Cooke
MiraCosta College is making major strides in modernizing our campuses to better serve you, thanks to voter approval of Measure MM in November.
We have a new contract with a program management firm to oversee all construction and improvements funded by the $455-million bond measure. We have established a committee composed of local business owners, community leaders, and residents to ask about the impact of Measure MM and communicate back to the community on progress. And analyses of environmental impacts are under way.
Make no mistake: Improvements are needed. An updated facilities master plan found more than 60 percent of our buildings at the Oceanside Campus alone need to be renovated or replaced. The current Allied Health Building, for example, lacks the space and proper layout to support 21st century instruction.
Fortunately, thanks to Measure MM, preparations are now under way for a brand new allied health and nursing building, a new student services building, new veterans center, a new gymnasium, a new athletic field, and new parking lots, in addition to needed upgrades throughout the Oceanside Campus. Environmental approval for a new student services building at the Community Learning Center and the modernization of existing facilities should be completed by summer, with design and construction following shortly thereafter. And at the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff, plans are being finalized for a new student services building and the badly needed modernization of virtually every other facility at one of the most picturesque campuses in the California Community College system.
Carefully reviewing how your hard-earned tax dollars will be spent is a group of seven distinguished area residents who will serve on the MiraCosta Community College District Measure MM Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. They are:
Debbie Barnum of the San Diego Taxpayers’ Association, who has 25 years of experience as an owner, consultant, and general contractor on major capital projects;
Raye Clendening, a member of the MiraCosta College Foundation board, a retired school administrator who has lived in Oceanside for more than three decades;
Richard High, an Oceanside resident and retired newspaper publisher;
Ted Owen, a retired Marine Corps captain is the President and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce;
Lorrine “Lee” Reich, a retired high school teacher, small business owner and member of a senior citizen’s organization;
Juana Reyes, president of the MiraCosta College Associated Student Government;
Yolanda Silva, an active member of the local business community who serves as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Hilton Del Mar hotel.
MiraCosta College is an essential part of the North County economy, providing more than $338 million to San Diego County’s Gross Regional Product annually. A student who earns an associate degree from MiraCosta College will see an average increase in earnings of $11,700 each year compared to someone with a high school diploma, an increase in earnings that amounts to an estimated $456,300 over a person’s working lifetime. In addition, we are at the forefront of job training and workforce preparation efforts in the region, and MiraCosta College is grateful for the unwavering support from our community in backing Measure MM.