Faculty and students gathered to watch President Frank Chong and Dean of Public Safety April Chapman slice through red ribbon at the opening of a new multi-purpose building at the SRJC Public Safety Training Center (PSTC).
The new building was inaugurated at 10 a.m. today, and President Chong addressed the crowd.
“I want to thank all of you who are in law enforcement, your faculty members, all your supervisors for putting in the commitment to train the next generation of first responders,” he told the crowd moments before cutting into the ribbon.
The new building is part of the many improvements SRJC is making to its campuses with help from the Measure H bond, a $410 million facilities upgrade initiative. Aside from the PSTC in Windsor, Measure H funds all major construction projects on both the Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses.
SRJC will provide more space for training in law enforcement and corrections, emergency medical care and fire technology. The added space allows SRJC to offer more college-level courses to students who are interested in careers that involve public safety at one of the best facilities for public safety training in California.
The 7,355-square-foot multipurpose room acts as both a classroom and area for physical training, which can be separated by a partition for all careers serviced by PSTC.
“Everyone is ecstatic,” Chapman said. “Having this space is taking the pressure off, and we will be able to offer more in-service classes.”
Tim Bell, facilities coordinator, noted just how desperate the campus was for more space.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Bell said. “We needed the extra space since the campus opened 19 years ago.”
The PSTC project totaled $5.7 million and is considered one of the most pivotal projects the Measure H bond funded as there is a high demand for first responders in Sonoma County.
Board of Trustees member Margaret Fishman, once a student at the SRJC police academy in 1969, stopped by the ceremony to give her support to the new building.
“Sometimes people do not realize how many programs this place serves,” Fishman said.
Charisse Arnolds, in-service and corrections program director, was overjoyed at the ceremony and discussed what the space means to her.
“We would always fight over the gym from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” Arnold said. “This building has provided a great space. The technology, the air [conditioning]. It’s a breath of fresh air to expand.”
Arnold explained that because there was not enough space to accommodate everyone’s needs, instructors would have to practice physical activity on the campus’ grass areas. Practicing outside became a challenge, and at times Arnold adjusted her curriculum for the different environments.
Not only are students thrilled to finally have the space they deserve, corrections students Thomas Kelley and Carson Richards find the little changes to be most powerful.
“The AC is going to help with the uniforms we have to wear,” Kelley said.
Richards, on the other hand, is merely excited to have access to a water-filling station that is right next to the building’s bathrooms.
Student Garret Walker is happy to have more room for activity, such as more scenario training.
Another student, Robert Dye, expressed how honored Adult Correctional Officer Class 40 is to be the first class to fully utilize the space.
Those who attended today’s ceremony felt optimistic about the future of PSTC, and how this building will help in making students more prepared to enter the workforce.
“We are so touched to see how appreciated this is,” Chong said. “The goal of Measure H was to touch every campus. That is our commitment.”