The transition for community college students to UC Davis may soon become a lot smoother.
“It’s a shock when students transfer from community college to the university,” said Don Palm, dean of the Sacramento City College Davis Center.
That is precisely what educators from both the UC and community college systems hoped to mitigate when they gathered in 2006 to sign a landmark agreement to place the first ever community college center on a University of California campus.
The Sacramento City College Davis Center, located on the western part of campus in West Village, opened its doors last week to over 2,000 students in what supporters hailed as a unique collaboration between two of California’s higher education systems.
“It will make the journey between community college and UC Davis more seamless, and represents real progress in expanding educational opportunities for California students,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi at the opening ceremony for the center.
Supporters of the project believe the location of the center on campus will provide community college students with a new opportunity to become a part of the wider UC Davis community.
“Our students will have much easier access to things part of UC Davis, whether it’s eating at the Silo or checking out a book from Shields Library,” Palm said.
Funded entirely by the Los Rios Community College District through Sacramento voter-approved Measure A bonds, the new 20,000 square foot, $7.5 million dollar state-of-the-art Davis Center is silver LEED certified, which means it is more environmentally sustainable than, say, traditional buildings. According to Palm, the center is planning two more phases, with the final phase of construction contingent on state government funding.
The construction was made possible by a land-lease agreement between UC Davis and Los Rios. Under the terms of the 65 year ground-lease, Los Rios pays UC Davis a nominal $1 annually for rights to the land. Though the $7.5 million building project was funded by Los Rios, the university allocated $17 million to bring infrastructure and utilities to the West Village site, which was previously undeveloped land.
Gary Sandy, director of local government relations at UC Davis, said the university will recoup the costs from the project by placing a surcharge on West Village residents’ utility bills.
Some residents of West Village welcomed their new neighbor, but with a few reservations.
“It’s great to have more people to interact with, but traffic congestion has gotten worse and bus seats are now sparse,” said Sharon Zhu, a first-year managerial economics major who lives opposite the Davis Center.
Nevertheless, educators like Palm remain upbeat about what the center will hold for its students.
“They will be able to plan better and make their university experience more successful,” he said.
RICHARD CHANG can be reached at email@example.com.