FAIRFIELD — When the fall semester started at Solano Community College, all the spots were filled in the newly opened automotive technology program.
“That’s a good indication the program was very much needed in the community,” said Jowel Laguerre, president/superintendent of the college.
With no automotive facilities at the college, the program and its first class of 25 students moved into space at Armijo High School. It is now set to move again in January pending the hammering out of final details for leased property on Georgia Street in Vallejo.
The move to a former Ford dealership allows the college to expand and add a second class of 25 to the two-year program, which it plans to do in the fall of 2014.
“To do that, we need more facilities than what we have (now),” Laguerre said. “That’s why we started looking at additional space.”
The negotiations started about two months ago and Laguerre said they are still finalizing the terms, such as the lease payment and some property improvements.
The former dealership’s showroom will be converted to classrooms. The property offers parking and several service bays.
Class will begin at the Georgia Street location but could be delayed if the transaction isn’t finalized and improvements not made by the college’s start date of Jan. 13, 2014. Laguerre said he’s looking at the end of January or February. The delay will probably translate into a slight increase in class time to make up the time, he said.
The college is looking down the road to when a permanent facility is built. Nothing has been vetted with the constituents yet, Laguerre said, but one of the ideas is to build the automotive technology building next to the current building and use the newly purchased Sonata Drive property for parking, tennis courts plus a building that would house classrooms and other student services.
“I’m very interested in not buying something that already exists, but to build from the ground up, because then we can put in the elements we want,” Laguerre said.
The college-owned equipment will move from Armijo to the new location and additional equipment will be purchased, plus a new instructor added, by using Measure Q funds, for the second class of students.
Measure Q is a $348 million bond for Solano College passed by voters a year ago.
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.