New MiraCosta building helps fill demand for sciences


For anatomy student Jacqualynn Gordon, a new science building at MiraCosta College’s San Elijo campus means less time commuting up north.

“I live in the Encinitas area, and I’m looking forward to having amazing facilities so close,” Gordon said, adding that driving to the Oceanside campus for classes is tough for local students.

Gordon spoke during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 2 unveiling the 4,700-square-foot space, which has a chemistry lab, a general lab, and various instruments and equipment.

Chemistry faculty member Theresa Bolanos said many science students will now be able to complete all the necessary classes for their associate degrees at the Cardiff campus — an option that wasn’t available in the past.

“This building is going to benefit students in so many ways,” Bolanos said. “They’re not only going to be able to focus on their curriculum here, but they’re also going to have more time to interact with each other and attend professors’ office hours.”

The project broke ground last December.

With the new building in place, the campus will offer organic chemistry and other classes for the first time this spring. It also supports biology, geology and oceanography.

Carlos Lopez, MiraCosta’s dean of mathematics and sciences, said after the ceremony that the facility will help MiraCosta meet surging demand for biology and chemistry classes.

“Over the past four years, we’ve had running wait lists for students in chemistry, in particular, at the San Elijo and Oceanside campuses,” Lopez said. “More students continue to dedicate themselves to the sciences.”

This fall, the building will serve 150 students in existing courses. In future semesters, as courses are added, it will accommodate roughly 600 to 780 students, according to Lopez.

The science building is part of a long-term master plan that was drawn up more than six years ago. In an effort to pay for the plan, MiraCosta tried but failed to float a $497 million bond in 2012.

After the unsuccessful bond vote, the MiraCosta Board of Trustees voted roughly a year ago to approve the $5.3 million building. The money came from MiraCosta’s general fund.

To the building’s immediate north lies a vacant plot of land. Lopez said more science buildings are planned there, including lecture and lab space. He added those facilities are years away, though.

Representatives from the offices of county Supervisor Dave Roberts, State Senator Mark Wyland and State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez presented proclamations at the ceremony.

“This day is about students,” said Dick Robertson, interim president of MiraCosta, as he kicked off the ceremony.