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Tuesday, 10 October 2017 15:25

Junior College in Vallejo, CA, Opens New State-of-the-Art Auto Tech Facility

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The new facility for the Solano Community College's Auto Tech Program had its grand opening on Sept. 20 in Vallejo, CA. The new facility for the Solano Community College's Auto Tech Program had its grand opening on Sept. 20 in Vallejo, CA.

The city of Vallejo, CA, is known for being the home of the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom theme park, the now-defunct Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the regional office for Region 5 of the United States Forest Service and the birthplace of racing legend Jeff Gordon. 

Now, you can add another item to that list. Vallejo's new Solano Community College (SCC) Auto Technology School is considered to be one of the finest of its type in the country. 

The new state-of-the-art facility celebrated its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Sept. 20. It was attended by 300 people, including the college's governing board, SCC President/Superintendent Dr. Celia Esposito-Noy, many industry and business people, industry vendors, students, instructors and possibly other local officials. 

While California's high schools began cutting vocational classes back in the 1980s, Solano Community College has been fast-tracking its automotive tech program growth for the past few years. This new facility has approximately 180 enrolled students, with plans to expand to 300 within the next year. 

In 2012, a local bond initiative known as Measure Q passed, which funded the auto tech program and kick-started plans for the new building. Without its own facility, the program operated out of Armijo High School in Fairfield, CA. At first, the program had only 24 students, but now it has a brand new 30,000-square-foot facility located on an eight-acre lot. Right now, the program offers only mechanical repair classes, but they have big plans to incorporate a collision repair two-year program hopefully within the next year, according to SCC Auto Tech Professor Rick Marshall.

Professor Paul Hidy has seen the program grow every year, and says the new facility is the culmination of years of hard work. 

"The planning process was longer than I could have imagined, because we're funded through a bond," he said. "We took possession of the land and then it took nearly two years before construction could start, even as the program grew dramatically.” 

The program moved into its new facility August 14, and classes are already in full swing, he said. 

“Our program offers a traditional two-year associate's degree, but, also a two-semester, short-term certificate of achievement based on one or two specific car concentrations, such as brakes and climate control," Hidy said. "This new facility will allow us to do many things here now that we could not do before."

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