A year-long celebration in the works took place at Orange Coast College on Friday, as the institution officially opened its new College Center building.
Orange Coast College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs have made their home at the new facility. The College Center is now the largest building on campus at 119,000 square feet.
The Mayor of Costa Mesa, John Stephens, drew attention to the city’s slogan: “The City of the Arts”. Appreciating art in all its forms, he asked the crowd to consider the architectural feat.
“We are second to none because we have great architecture here,” Stephens said of the city. “And for generations and for decades people will go down Fairview [Road] in Costa Mesa, and they will see this building, and they will remember that we are the city of the arts.
Those who were in the programs now hosted by the College Center remember studying and working in a more intimate setting, but they are excited to continue their work at a bigger and better institution.
“We didn’t know our little cocoon would soon turn into a big, beautiful butterfly,” said Lindsay Taeger, culinary arts student at OCC. “While the new College Center brings the physical space that we may have previously lacked, we are quickly seasoning this new cast iron ham with the same friendships, knowledge, memories and accomplishments that we created in the old student center.”
The College Center has a large student dining hall and an on-campus restaurant called Captain’s Table.
Administrative offices are also located in the building, which was originally scheduled to be dedicated in 2020 before being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Several speakers, including Jim Moreno, Chairman of the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees, thanked the local community for investing in education. About $ 82 million was spent on building the College Center, whose funds were provided through the passage of Measure M, a $ 698 million bond measure that was on the ballot in 2012.
Measure M was intended to provide financial support for the construction and renovation of facilities at Coastline Community College, Golden West College and Orange Coast College.
“Due to the will of the people, we have the ability to serve our community,” Moreno said. “These are your colleges. These are your buildings. This building behind me is yours, and we are fortunate to live in a neighborhood that invests in the future of our students and firmly believes that the strength of our nation begins with education, and we put our money where our mouth is.
Stephens added that Orange Coast College is located in the heart of Costa Mesa, and not just geographically.
“It’s amazing,” said Katrina Foley, supervisor for Orange County, herself a former student at Orange Coast College. “It’s a college-style campus…, and we can’t do it without the support of the community. “
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