The halls of the Sierra College Tahoe-Truckee Campus were crowded with people sipping coffee and looking at artwork at the grand opening Saturday.
Located on McIver Hill between Highway 89 south and downtown Truckee, the new campus had its grand opening Oct. 11. Visitors could view the state- of-the-art science and computer labs, a dance studio with padded floors, or just keep warm in the student lounge next to the fireplace.
Faculty members demonstrated art, emergency medical technician, mechatronics, and music programs.
“This is a pretty exciting time for the college and the opening went well,” said Dave Ferrari, college board trustee. “Overall the reaction was very positive Saturday.”
The college opened sooner than the winter 2009 projection, and after an initial hike in construction price, didn’t see any more budget fluctuations, Ferrari said.
“We’re moving kids up their today as we speak,” Ferrari said.
And faculty members were excited to start in the new building as well.
Victor Hernandez, who will start teaching EMT at the new campus starting Tuesday said he is thrilled to finally have a home for his class which has moved around from Truckee High School, real estate offices and even above a bar.
“We’ve never really had a true home,” Hernandez said. “I’m really excited I can’t wait to teach in here.”
Ferrari said the college could bring big benefits to the Truckee-Tahoe region.
“Community colleges can offer something for everybody,” Ferrari said. “There is a huge potential for the region to partner with the college.”
Key programs could include education in sustainability, mechatronics, and workforce training, he said.
Ferrari said he anticipates over 1,000 total students.
Julie Lewis, who checked out the new building for the first time Saturday said she was very impressed.
“Walking through here is very inspiring, it’s beautiful, exactly what we need up here,” Lewis said. “It’s got a great atmosphere, it lends itself to learning. It would be a great place to study.”
Most importantly, Lewis thinks the new campus will provide more opportunities for the youth of Truckee-Tahoe to attend college because of it’s location and affordability.
“Kids who haven’t had the opportunity to go to college will [be able to],” Lewis said.
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