New community college campus coming to Oakhurst

OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- The current Oakhurst Community College Center is a small campus made up of portable buildings. Soon there will be a new campus with permanent buildings that can almost double student enrollment.

The new campus will be located just off Highway 49 in Oakhurst.

"We're going from portables to permanent buildings and it is going to make a difference in opportunities, in courses and the technology and the education experience," says State Center Community College District Chancellor Dr. Paul Parnell.

The new campus will be on a 30-acre site, located just above the Madera County Sheriff's Department building.

The current campus is two acres with portable buildings limiting the number of students in each classroom.

Student Ebben Hammond said, "For my experience, it hasn't been too cramped for the classes that I've taken but the classes I have taken are kind of small."

Dr. Sandra Caldwell is the president of Reedley Community College and she also oversees the district's campuses in Oakhurst and the city of Madera. She says there is need to provide higher education in rural areas of Central California. "This event today marks a very visible opportunity for us to show that every single member, every person in our service area matters," said Caldwell.

The purchase of the new site was made possible through a Measure C bond of $1.8 million dollars.

The property is now in escrow and is expected to close in July. After that work on blueprints and designs will begin.

"We have a good idea of what direction we will go," said Caldwell. "We really needed to make sure at exactly at which location we were going be in so the facility and planning would match the piece of property."

The State Center Community College District worked with Madera County and the community to select the new site.

Construction on the new campus is set to begin in 2020, with a completion date in 2021, just in time for the fall semester.
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