By Pablo J. Sáinz
Students at the most iconic higher education institution in the South Bay will begin Fall semester next week with brand-new multipurpose facilities, including a new artificial turf field.
When classes start on Monday, Aug. 18th, Southwestern College, in Chula Vista, will boast new, state-of-the-art four-story Fieldhouse/Classroom building housing four classrooms, a 150-seat lecture hall, student fitness center, faculty offices, and spacious locker rooms for the college’s athletic teams.
The $25 million project is part of Proposition R, the $389 million general obligation bond approved by voters in November, 2008. Prop. R is being used for construction, reconstruction and modernization of facilities on the Chula Vista campus and at the Higher Education Centers in National City, Otay Mesa and San Ysidro.
This Friday, August 15th, the college will host a grand opening ceremony at 3:30 p.m., where the community will celebrate the new facilities.
“The Fieldhouse and Classroom building is an open invitation to our community to watch our student athletes in action, attend a lecture or enroll in a class,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Melinda Nish.
For Dionicio Monarrez, a health professor and football coach at Southwestern College, the new facilities will become the pride of the college.
“It’s going to be one of those elite facilities in the state,” Monarrez said. “It will be a model for many schools.”
Monarrez said the new field will attract more student athletes to Southwestern, making the college more competitive in sports.
“It’s going to help with recruiting new talents,” said Monarrez, who has been at the college for 13 years.
He added that the new facilities will not only benefit Southwestern College students, but the community at-large.
“It’s an exciting time for Southwestern College, it’s a great time for the community,” he said. “Hopefully the entire community will use the facilities, for concerts, for tournaments, for community events.”
The stadium renovation and Field-house/Classroom building is one of $114 million in projects either being completed this summer or in the pipeline.
A new 3-megawatt solar project—the largest single project in San Diego Gas & Electric’s service area—currently being installed in five parking lots on the Chula Vista campus will be completed in the next several weeks. A new two-story building with science labs and a medical clinic will begin construction at the Higher Education Center in National City next spring.
Of interest to many community members are the plans for the vacant corner lot. A new multi-story wellness center with competition and therapy pools is expected to begin construction next spring as well. The project will allow the college to demolish the current gym and pool and build a new multi-story math, science and engineering building in its place.
The Fall semester starts August 18th at Southwestern College. Prospect students and community members who would like to enroll, can visit www.swccd.edu or any of its campuses from National City to Otay Mesa.
Established in 1961, Southwestern College is the only public institution of higher education in southern San Diego County, serving approximately 400,000 residents.