In its effort to set up a new satellite campus in west Fresno, Fresno City College is working with the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) initiative.
The concept proposal for the new campus was submitted this month, and selected as part of the final package. A possible location for the campus was suggested at the southwest corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Church Avenue (contingent on approval by the Board of Trustees and site owners. The general description of the proposal put the size of the project at 40,250 square feet, developed on approximately ten acres of land. An estimated 2,000 students.
Carole Goldsmith, president at Fresno City College, said that her team has not only been active in the TCC, but that other projects in the collaborative have responded well to it.
“Every single proposal wants to partner with us in some shape or fashion,” Goldsmith said. “Even the housing groups wanted to be able to focus with us to have some type of offerings projects, so we’re in discussions now with a variety of different groups.”
They have also had several meetings with the west Fresno community. In these discussions, desires for the new campus — and its functions — have been discussed.
“They want a balance between academic transcript programs to university, which is one of our major educational goals,” said Paul Parnell, chancellor at Fresno City College, “and they want a good blend of career and technical education courses that are full-major focus.”
Parnell said that Fresno City wants to put emphasis on courses concerning health care, manufacturing, agriculture and business computer information systems. Goldsmith stated that the time for an institute for higher learning in southwest Fresno is long overdue.
“You know, we’ve been talking about the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ for decades and this is going to be something that will really change the tide,” she said. “It is — in and of itself — this is the transformational project.”
The state of California has committed $70 million to Fresno through the state’s cap-and-trade revenue. The purpose of the money is to fund projects that will benefit both communities and the environment. Fresno City College hopes to be included in this investment.
“It’s a unique opportunity and it’s kind of happened serendipitously,” Parnell said. “We didn’t expect it, but it’s a great opportunity.”
The $70 million in cap-and-trade funding would come alongside the $485 million bond for State Center Community College District that was approved with the passing of Measure C last June. Lucy Ruiz, executive director for public and legislative relations for Fresno City College, said that a TCC partnership would only enhance their gains.
“We’ve offered courses in different sites and when we went for Measure C, we wanted to have one location and that’s why it was put into the bond,” Ruiz said. “And this TCC funding just lets us be better stewards with the money if we’re able to provide a bigger facility.”
In order to be chosen for the TCC project, the concepts set forth must meet three criteria: the proposal must reduce greenhouse gas emissions; it must promote safety and public health and; it must promote workforce development. Parnell said that health and safety would be promoted by offering courses in health care, and as an institute of higher learning with career training options, it would promote workforce development.
Goldsmith said that the satellite campus will work to reduce greenhouse gas by bringing the school closer to many of the students and would cut emissions by implementing more efficient materials and features into construction.
“Campus structures will be located to maximize their efficiency by aligning placement to solar, wind, soil and landscape features found at the west Fresno location,” the proposal said. “Pollution prevention measures during construction will reduce pollution from soil erosion, waterway sedimentation and airborne dust.”
Goldsmith further added that with better educational opportunities, students would be more likely to make more environmentally sound decisions.
“We know — research after research and data after data — that when people become more educated…they make better health choices, they make better energy selection choices,” Goldsmith said. “They make better choices in their employment, they have more access to employment.”
Fresno will submit its concept proposal on Oct. 18.
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