VACAVILLE — Solano Community College is exploring ways to expand its aeronautics program while linking it to the proposed Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum.
The museum is in its early planning stages and those behind it are nearing a deal to buy 10 acres near the Nut Tree Airport and have plans for 11 more acres at the site.
Solano College is looking to grow the aeronautics program that is currently housed in a hangar at Nut Tree Airport. The college also has $348 million in money from Measure Q slated to come in for new facilities.
Jowel Laguerre, the college’s superintendent and president, said there is a great opportunity to rebuild the program as part of the Doolittle Museum. Both projects are years away, but Laguerre said it’s never too early to start planning.
“The museum has a lot of avenues for our students,” he said. “That’s what’s great about being a community college.”
Laguerre said the aeronautics program has grown from five to 50 students lately and is outgrowing its current space.
The topic of the two groups creating a public-private partnership was discussed Wednesday during the Solano Community College District Board of Trustees meeting in Vacaville.
Brian McInerny is CEO of the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Education Foundation. He was joined by Doolittle board member Herm Rowland of Jelly Belly.
McInerny described the museum as interactive, even balking at calling it a museum in the traditional sense. With a strong focus on education, as well as aeronautics itself, he said it was a no-brainer to join forces with Solano College.
“We’re going to preserve and honor the history and promote what’s coming next,” McInerny told the board.
Rowland said some of the space would be dedicated to teaching, even bringing in groups of teachers to learn. He said it would eventually be an attraction to pull people off Interstate 80. With planning at the early stages, he assured the board that good things were coming.
“It’s a big project, but you have to dream it to make it happen,” Rowland said.
Laguerre said paperwork to finalize the agreement is being prepared.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.