Dedication will mark $60 million invested in south county collegePETALUMA – The redesign of 25,000 square feet of existing building space on the Santa Rosa Junior College Petaluma Campus is complete and a ceremony will be held Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the main plaza as part of a dedication of the remodeled facilities.

“These beautifully renovated structures – named in honor of former members of SRJC’s Board of Trustees – have reopened and conclude the largest construction projects in Santa Rosa Junior College’s more than 90-year history,” said Robert Agrella, Ph.D.,  superintendent and president of SRJC.

Built at a cost of more than $60 million, with major funding from Bond Measure A in 2002, the tripling in size of SRJC’s Petaluma Campus was accomplished in three phases. Phase I was completed in 1995 followed by the addition of seven new buildings in 2008 as part of Phase II designed by TLCD Architecture and built by Wright Contracting.

Phase III renovations involved three original buildings built in the 1990s (Kathleen Doyle Hall, Carole L. Ellis Auditorium and the John M. Jacobs Hall). Modifications were also made to East Hall, transforming the former bookstore into expanded dining and multipurpose space as well as the Courtyard Cafe.

Extensive renovations to Kathleen Doyle Hall have significantly expanded student services areas, including new counseling and financial aid offices. The second floor includes a tutorial and college skills center and a digital media lab with adjacent production suites. Remodeled chemistry, physics and physical sciences labs are located on the first floor. Doyle Hall also includes general-purpose classrooms and faculty offices.

The Carole L. Ellis Auditorium now occupies space that originally housed the campus library. This 257-seat lecture hall and cultural venue has extensive technological capabilities and musical performance space, a green room, storage, dressing areas and a ticket office. The facility is also the new home of the 700-square-foot center for Santa Rosa Community College District Police.

John M. Jacobs Hall has a new enclosed entrance and hallways that provide weather-protected walkways and overflow queuing areas for expanded student services. It also has new space for admissions and records, cashiers/accounting and assessment along with a new career/transfer resource center, the disability resources office and work experience office. Jacobs Hall also houses separate art studios for design and paint, general-purpose classrooms and faculty offices.

“Everything has been upsized. The new Ellis Auditorium gives us the ability to conduct large lecture classes, such as an anthropology class with 130 students and astronomy classes with over 100 students,” said Jane Saldaña-Talley, Ph.D., vice president and executive dean of the Petaluma campus. “This auditorium allows us to offer a variety of cultural, musical and community events such as a cinema series, an Italian Film Festival as well as arts and lectures programs.”

Future Ellis Auditorium events will include “Roots and Branches,” a history of music in the U.S., a New Orleans Piano Night Oct. 9 as well as an Oct. 11 chamber music and jazz band fundraiser, with proceeds going to the “Bridging the Doyle” scholarship fund, followed by an SRJC theatrical department production in January.

While the recession has caused a reduction of the number of course sections offered, as well as the elimination of some off-campus leased space, there has been a 7.9 percent increase in SRJC Petaluma’s overall student enrollment. The number of units being taken by students on the Petaluma campus is also up by 8.3 percent this fall.

Technology enhancements now in place enable every instructional space to have access to active distance learning including media, computer links, projection equipment and a campus-wide WiFi network. Video conferencing is also available in conference rooms and classrooms so students can share live instruction originating from the SRJC main campus and other venues.

“Farther down the road, I would like to explore the possibility of leasing our video conferencing facilities to area businesses and groups, but right now we are all trying to settle in to our new surroundings so we can continue to meet the educational needs of students through this outstanding learning community in Petaluma,” Dr. Saldaña-Talley said.

For more information, visit www.santarosa.edu/petaluma.