Irvine Valley sister school opened Monday.
By JORGE BARRIENTOS IRVINE WORLD NEWS
A new community college campus on the old Tustin Marine helicopter base opened its doors to students on Monday, offering what college officials call revolutionary, high-tech educational programs.
South Orange County Community College District, which includes Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges, has built five buildings on a 68-acre site for its Advanced Technology & Education Park.
The college teaches courses in optics and photonics, design model-making and prototyping, and courses in information security. The college will also offer courses transferable from Irvine Valley and Saddleback College in languages, math and humanities among others. It also plans to have companies working with the campus to employ students. The high-tech, market-driven courses offered at ATEP combined with a collaborative effort with local colleges makes the college unique, said Robert Kopecky, provost for the campus.
“What we have here is literally one of a kind throughout the nation,” Kopecky said. “We’re kind of on the leading edge here. In today’s world, we’re really far in the future.”
The campus, which costs $10 million to build on one acre, will offer courses from its sister colleges, but plans to stand alone among community colleges in Orange County, said Raghu Mathur, chancellor of the district.
“We believe we have a plan here that will provide leadingedge equipment and training necessary for job placement,” he said.
Opening classes to students on Monday is just the beginning for the campus and district, Mathur said. Plans include:
Building studios and stages for the filming of movies and television programs and more;
Working with Cal State Fullerton and/or Chapman University to offer courses in film and television;
Expanding the district’s nursing program to ATEP;
Developing all 68-acres at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion dollars, according to tentative long-term plans.
The district approved $7 million recently to demolish vacant buildings near the site that can’t be used. The campus is built with energy efficient standards using 97 percent recycled steel, efficient lighting and other sustainable construction products.
About 320 students have registered so far, and officials expect enrollment to increase as classes begin.
“I find it extremely exciting to work on something like this because it is a new project,” Mathur said. “The bottom line is … the students. Our focus is on the students. One way or another we want to make sure we fill their educational requirements.”
For more information on the school, near the intersection of Red Hill and Valencia in Tustin, go to http://www.atep.us.