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University Center Construction Begins

January 7th, 2008

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After years of dreaming and careful planning, the College of the Canyons University Center is on its way to becoming reality.
Work began in October on erecting the 110,000-square-foot facility that will enable partner colleges and universities to offer advanced degrees on the College of the Canyons campus.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for College of the Canyons, and underscores our continued efforts to find new and innovative ways to provide access to education and enable our students to pursue their goals," said Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Superintendent-President of College of the Canyons.
The University Center represents an innovative concept brought to life. Inspired by the changing nature of education, it is designed to meet the needs of students in the Santa Clarita Valley and improve access to advanced degrees.
College of the Canyons boasts the highest transfer rate of any community college in Los Angeles County. Many students who wish to continue their educations beyond the associate's degree level are unable to do so, however. A variety of barriers stand in their way, but the time and expense asociated with commuting to a four-year college or university ourside of the Santa Clarita Valley are among the most significant inhibitors.
"If students can't get to the colleges, then we should bring the colleges to the students," Van Hook said. By bringing top-notch, in-demand programs from respected partners to the College of the Canyons campus, the University Center removes barriers and makes it possible for students to earn bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as a variety of teaching and administrative credentials, without leaving the valley.
The concept of the University Center was championed by Van Hook. In honor of her innovative spirit and commitment to the project, College of the Canyons' Board of Trustees voted in May to name the facility the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center.
Continued development of the community's economic potential is tied to the cultivation of an educated workforce. The University Center is a key component in doing so. When it opens in 2009, it will have the capacity to house at least 10 partnering colleges and universities offering 70 degree and credential programs.
Funding for the University Center's construction and equipment comes from private donors, state and federal resources, and local bond measures.
Van Hook worked extensively as the state level to persuade officials to fund such an innovative concept. The private fundraising effort was led by two of Santa Clarita's foremost business leaders, Lou Garasi, CEO of Gruber Systems, and Tom Lee, retired CEO of Newhall Land. U.S Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon served as honorary chair for the fundraising campaign.
Situated at the south end of campus in a prominent location affording views of the Santa Clarita Valley, the building will also host the college's Economic Development Department and Advanced Technology Business Incubator, along with the William S. Hart Union High School District's Academy of the Canyons middle college high school.
Pictures and article above provided by The Bottom Line, News & Views from College of the Canyons