On Wednesday morning Arvin celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for the extension of the Bakersfield College campus that will be built on 1001 Varsity Road across from Arvin High School.
This Arvin campus will consist of five classes, a tutoring center, writing center, computer labs, library, bookstore, and space for student government dedicated to using funds from Measure J. The campus will be 27,300 sq. ft. and classrooms will be ready for use by 2024.
“It’s always exciting to break ground on a new project, but today’s groundbreaking ceremony, in particular, is special to me. It’s close to my heart because Arvin is my community. Many of our rural students are children of field workers. For them, college is the first step to a new generational change that can transform the lives of their families going forward,” said Yovani Jimenez, Kern Community College District Trustee.
Norma Rojas Mora, the executive director of government relations and partnerships for Bakersfield College, describes this event as more than just a celebration. It took a lot of dedication and hard work to pass Measure J and make the Arvin campus a reality.
“Today is a day of celebration. Measure J was quite a bit ago, but many of us involved with the process still remember the effort and the long hours and long nights of phone calls, knocking door to door for the support, and you know the city of Arvin really coming together and saying ‘we want an Arvin campus,’” said Mora.
The Arvin campus is part of the Measure J project with a value of $25.9 million available for this project. Measure J won the vote in 2016 and was passed in 2017 at the April Board of Trustees meeting. The board accepted the 32-acre parcel across from Arvin High school to build the Arvin BC campus.
“The entire college campus, the district, and the Arvin community came together to get out the vote,” said Dr. Sonya Christian, Chancellor of the Kern County Community College District. “I do want to recognize the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Building Healthy Communities. Those organizations really organized the Arvin community, and on November 8, 2016, 415,297 voted yes on Measure J.”
Dr. Christian emphasizes that it has been 5 and a half years since Measure J was passed. On the other hand, Measure G was passed in 2002 and it’s been 20 years and projects are still being done from the funding. With Measure J, there have been significant buildings that have been built. Dr. Christian explains that the difference between both measures is Congressman Bill Tomas who pushed to make these projects happen.
Arvin has gone through numerous amount of positive changes. From the beginning between the years of 1906 to 1910, the community of Arvin was established. The first post office was started by Birdie Heard in 1914, who made the first post office in her home. In 1949, Arvin High School was established. The BC Arvin campus is another historic mark on Arvin’s future history.
Last year, Early College students graduated with a high school diploma and an associate degree. Diego Rubio Garcia joined the Early College Program because he wanted to receive an associate’s degree while he also received his high school diploma; he knows that the future campus will help many more generations thrive with a successful education.
The future Arvin campus will help many students succeed with their education without worrying about transportation. They will have resources at this new campus that will help them succeed. The future Arvin campus is the beginning of a strong community filled with hope.