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A Monday morning ceremony will mark a sizable step forward in providing services and support for the approximately 350 veterans attending Shasta College.
The 10 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony represents a green light for construction of the 2,700-square-foot Veterans Support and Success Center.
According to Becky McCall, the associate dean of student services, when construction is completed in the spring of 2020, the center will offer veterans and their families access to a computer lab, quiet study rooms, financial aid and academic counselors and an office dedicated to other veteran-related services as needed.
“It’ll be kind of a one-stop shop for veterans; a place where they can feel safe, do homework, get tutoring” and be able to meet as needed with Veterans Administration representatives and other service providers “so they don’t have to hop around,” McCall said.
Joe Wyse, the superintendent and president of Shasta College, said the community college has had a veterans service center on campus for years, “but it never felt adequate to me.” When Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District trustees began contemplating Measure H, a $139 million bond measure approved by voters in 2016, improving services for student veterans “became a good rallying point for us,” Wyse said.
With construction slated to begin this month, Wyse said the faculty, administration and trustees are “so grateful that the community shared in that vision, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to better meet the needs of those who served our country in this centralized facility.”
James Konopitski, an Air Force veteran now working in the college’s admissions and records department, offered a testimonial to the Veterans Support and Success Center.
“I have personally studied student veterans at community colleges in both research and real-world practice, I’ve worked alongside veterans in the community college system and I am a veteran that was once a student veteran. The new center is focused on providing that communal transition into a place that is accepting and understanding, which our veterans need in this country.
“It will be a place of both educational business and camaraderie, which is essential to all our veterans. This unique space will show our veterans that the value of their success in education translates directly to the high value they have in our community. Our veterans earned our commitment to make sure we provide them the space for their educational and career success,” Konopitski said.
Wyse said a companion project, currently in the design phase, will add veterans services on the Tehama satellite campus in Red Bluff.
The first improvement funded by the bond measure—a pair of fire training towers that make up Phase I of Shasta College’s Regional Public Safety Training Center—was unveiled earlier this year. In addition to the veterans center, other Measure H-funded projects include a computer and information systems center on the Redding campus to help fill out the technical education quad and a 1.6-megawatt solar panel array on the east parking lot. When completed and linked with the existing 1-megawatt solar field, the Redding campus will be able to generate 80 percent of its energy needs, Wyse said.
Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony will be held in the Campus Quad, in front of the Veterans Grove. Parking will be available in the North parking lot, and no parking permit will be required in that lot for the morning of this event.
For more information, visit www.shastacollege.edu or contact the Shasta College Bond Program Office at (530) 242-7747.