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Bond money funds two big SRJC projects

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Santa Rosa Junior College will celebrate the start of several new bond-funded projects with two groundbreaking events on Nov. 6.

At 4:15 p.m. there will be a ribbon cutting for the new SunPower solar photovoltaic array in the Bech parking lot and signature ceremony for the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. At 4:30 p.m. there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Elliott classroom building, the first phase of construction associated with the new Lindley Center for STEM Education.

The new SunPower solar photovoltaic arrays installed in the Bech and Emeritus parking lots are part of the college’s $32.5 million measure H sustainability plan. The first installation occurred on the Petaluma campus (1.3 megawatts) and has been active since last year. At 1.8 megawatts, the Santa Rosa project will produce as much electricity as it takes to supply 300 homes for a full year for a total of 3.2 megawatts installed to date.

Energy and Sustainability Manager David Liebman looks forward to switching on the photovoltaic panels.

“These arrays will provide approximately 27 percent of the Santa Rosa Campus’s annual electricity, saving nearly $370,000 a year, and are a big part of the district’s goal of being a zero net energy college by 2030,” he said.

With 30-plus years in solar, SunPower has long been a trusted partner for community colleges and schools in California.

SRJC will be joining more than 650 colleges across the United States as a signatory to the ACUPCC, a pledge from colleges and universities that are committed to neutralizing their greenhouse gas emissions and to sustainability efforts. SRJC will be the first educational institution in Sonoma County to sign this commitment.

SRJC’s first sustainability plan was written in 2015 collectively by faculty, staff, students and college administrators. Known as the Greenprint, the document includes 18 goals to achieve by 2018 (coincident with the college’s 100-year anniversary). Signing the ACUPCC was one of the 18 goals.

Robert Ethington, Senior Dean of Students, reinforced the importance of the ACUPCC to the college’s strategic plan.

“Signing the ACUPCC is an important milestone for the college,” he said. “It was one of the key goals of the Greenprint and helps fulfill one of the strategic goals of the college — to create a strong culture of sustainability.”

New science center

The new science building on the Santa Rosa campus will be named for long-time trustee W. Terry Lindley in recognition of his decades of service. The state-of-the-art building is funded by the $410 million Measure H bond, passed by Sonoma County voters in 2014, as well as by leveraged matching funds from the state.

The Elliott classroom building is the first phase in a multi-year development and construction process that will culminate with the building of a new science center. The Elliott building contains permanent laboratory and classroom space, which will be occupied temporarily by the displaced science programs, while construction on the permanent science center is underway.

Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Victor Tam said that he looks forward to the new science center.

“I am excited to see this first project come to fruition, thanks to the work of many faculty, staff and managers across STEM and the district,” he said. “The next three years will be an exciting time as we work towards bringing a new, innovative science center to SRJC.”

Civil Engineering, Surveying & Geospatial Technology Program Coordinator Reg Parks said that the projects will greatly improve the facilities for his engineering and applied technology students. “I am grateful to all and cannot wait to join my students in this new facility while waiting for our new permanent home,” he said.