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New Millennium Brings Challenge, Expansion
Santa Rosa Junior College’s future includes the likely expansion north and possibly west to serve growing populations, as well as acquiring more land for the Santa Rosa Campus. SRJC’s Five-Year Plan also includes renovation, remodeling, or expansion of physical education, performing arts, and public safety facilities, as well as acquiring more land in Petaluma for the future growth of the south county campus.
The challenges in store for the College include coping with escalating operational costs and higher priced building materials, technology, supplies, wages and health-care benefits in the face of further anticipated state budget cuts. Despite budget cuts, SRJC is taking the lead in responding to the needs of local employers and also meeting the needs of the community.
President/Superintendent Dr. Robert F. Agrella asks employees to “pull together as one faculty, one staff, one student body and one College,” with a clear plan to guide the College through the economic downturn to emerge stronger and more united than ever.
The sweeping changes at SRJC since the start of the new millennium are due to a great extent to the passage of Sonoma County’s $251.7 million Bond Measure A in 2002 by an overwhelming majority of county residents. Since 2002, the College has seen unprecedented construction of remarkable new buildings on both campuses and renovated many other facilities to meet the changing needs of students in the decades ahead.
Santa Rosa Campus
In September 2006, a state-of-the art four-story, 145,000 square foot Frank P. Doyle Library was built in the center of the Santa Rosa Campus. The “green” facility includes a media viewing center, digital color television studio, tutorial center, an Art Gallery, hundreds of computer stations, study rooms, among many other venues that support student learning.
The construction of the four-story Don Zumwalt Parking Pavilion was also completed in 2006. Adjacent to the Bailey Field along Mendocino Avenue, the convenient facility offers over a thousand parking slots for students and a beautiful clock bell tower.
Renovations to the former Plover Library, now called Plover Hall, were completed in 2008. The 32,000 square feet facility offers one-stop student services, ranging from registration and financial aid to assessment and scholarship.
Construction of 78,000 square foot three-story Bertolini Student Services Center was initiated in 2007 and was formally dedicated in April 2010. Situated at the northeast corner of campus, the center provides multiple student services and a beautiful cafeteria. Combined, the Plover and Bertolini centers offer students more than 110,000 square feet for student services and activities.
It is anticipated that a two-story Culinary Arts Center will be constructed on the east side of Mendocino Avenue across from the Santa Rosa Campus, and will contain five teaching kitchens, a bakery, and café.
Numerous other projects are anticipated on the Santa Rosa Campus in the next few years, including improvements to the Public Safety Training Center, campus labs and offices, Bailey Hall and Burbank Auditorium renovations, the addition of a health and wellness center and pool in physical education and athletics, a science technology, engineering and mathematics facility, as well as future land acquisitions to expand the College.
Petaluma Campus Expands
The Sonoma County Junior College District looked to the south end of the county when it expanded its offerings in the mid-1960s, and began scheduling evening classes in Petaluma in 1964. Student response was immediate, and in the early 1970s, more classes were added in classrooms and leased spaces throughout the city, including the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds.
In 1986, the Board of Trustees purchased a 40-acre site in east Petaluma, and in 1995 the first phase of construction of a Petaluma Center was completed. The Petaluma Center officially became a campus in April 1999. A $65 million expansion and renovation project was launched in 2006, designed to triple the square footage of campus buildings and accommodate twice the student population. Funds also came from the 2002 voter-approved $251.7 million bond Measure A and $24 million in state revenues.
Phase II of construction to expand the Petaluma Campus to a 12,000-student capacity was completed in 2008. The beautiful, contemporary adobe style buildings with red tile roofs and clock tower with Westminster chimes reflect the Spanish history of the area. Among the new facilities are life sciences, chemistry, and physics labs, an art studio, physical sciences labs, a new 35,000 square foot library, physical fitness center, bookstore, student services areas, dining areas, classrooms and technology labs, faculty/administrative offices, digital arts lab, a nearly 300-seat auditorium, and expanded outdoor spaces. Today, more than 6,000 students enroll in classes each semester at the Petaluma Campus to enjoy an increasingly comprehensive curriculum in a welcoming and accessible setting.
Santa Rosa Junior College is officially accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges