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    Fallbrook & Bonsall Village News: Palomar College celebrates groundbreaking for its North Education Center

    October 19, 2017

    by Tom Ferrall

    Dr. Joi Lin Blake, superintendent/president of Palomar College, quoted the lyrics of the Sam Cooke song “A Change Is Gonna Come” in welcoming guests to the Oct. 13 groundbreaking ceremony for Palomar’s North Education Center, which is being built in Fallbrook on an 80-acre site northeast of Interstate 15 and State Route 76.

    “It’s been a long time coming,” said Blake, noting that Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” is one of her favorite songs. “We have been anticipating this event today because this ceremony serves as a reminder of Palomar’s commitment to provide access and to extend educational opportunities to all regions of our district in North San Diego County.”

    Palomar College used funds from the passage of Proposition M (a $694 million bond) in 2006 to purchase the Fallbrook property for $38,241,902 in 2007.

    “When the property was purchased in 2007 we honored the commitment we made to the voters in our district who passed Prop M that we would transform North County,” said Blake. “We began that with our main campus in San Marcos. We’ve extended that to our South Education Center in Rancho Bernardo, and now we are building out this land to support our community in the northern most portion of our district.”

    In concluding her opening remarks, Blake said, “We are very proud that our district is home to a number of American Indian Tribal Governments and their people. I am honored to invite the Luiseño singers from Pauma to come to the podium.”

    A blessing and traditional Luiseño prayer by Pauma tribe members followed, as well as singing of bird songs by the Cahuilla Bird Singers.

    “We pray together and we sing to make everything good,” said Cahuilla Bird Singer Bill Madrigal.

    Shortly after the singing and dancing by the Cahuilla Bird Singers, State Senator Joel Anderson of the 38th District addressed the gathering and made a presentation to Blake.

    “As a community college graduate myself, I am familiar with the unique opportunities and programs that are offered to Palomar students as well as the opportunities those programs create,” said Anderson. “This groundbreaking today celebrates not just the construction of a building and the expansion of a campus, it represents the construction of new dreams for students and the expansion of their opportunities.

    “This groundbreaking also celebrates a unique partnership that ensures the appropriate recognition of history, culture, traditions and immeasurable contributions of our wonderful tribal neighbors,” continued Anderson. “With that, I’d like to present this certificate of recognition from our great senate to Palomar College on this groundbreaking.”

    Although the North Education Center will be built in phases, mass grading required for building out the entire property is underway. Officials estimate the scope of work will require the moving of approximately 751,733 cubic yards of earth. The site is considered a “balanced site,” meaning no earth is either exported or imported – all earth moved stays on the property.

    The first phase of the North Education Center, called Interim Village, will be completed in the spring and welcome students to classes in the summer. Interim Village will occupy 20,040 square feet and feature a complex of 18 modular buildings, including two science labs, one computer lab, one large lecture classroom, six standard lecture classrooms, a library/learning resource center, staff and student lounges, administrative offices, and restrooms.

    Initial construction will also include access roads with two entrances off of Horse Ranch Creek Road, as well as surface parking for 307 vehicles, lighting and landscaping. The work is being done by Balfour-Beatty Construction.

    Construction of phase one of the permanent buildings will begin Dec. 1, 2018 and continue through July 30, 2019.

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