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COC breaks ground on expansion

Project will create more space for nearly 10 multimedia, arts programs

Posted: September 10, 2009 10:28 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Although work has already begun on a major expansion of Mentry Hall at College of the Canyons, Chancellor Dianne Van Hook lifts the ceremonial first shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday. On Van Hook's left is COC's Dean of Fine & Performing Arts Dr. Floyd Moos, and on his left is Board of Trustees President Joan MacGregor.

College of the Canyons is beginning a $10.7 million yearlong expansion project that will add space for nearly 10 media and arts programs for the growing community college's students, officials said Thursday.

"It makes a difference for our community and will be an incredible difference for our students," Chancellor Dianne Van Hook told a crowd of about 50 professors, administrators and community leaders during a ground breaking ceremony.

The expansion will add 16 classrooms, 12 offices and two conference rooms to Mentry Hall and is expected to be completed by fall 2010.

The center will grow by 32,040 square feet to 76,339 square feet and will house programs like architectural drafting and technology, visual art and art history, graphic and multimedia design, animation and photography.

The art gallery will also be part of the expanded building.

The expansion will be funded by Measure M, a $160 million bond approved by voters in 2006.

"We're excited for the innovative learning experience that the college is building for our students," said Joan MacGregor, board president of the Santa Clarita Community College District.

Mentry Hall, which opened in 1997 on the Valencia campus, will also be the location for the newly created media entertainment arts program, which replaces the radio, television and film division.

Calling the ground breaking a "momentous occasion," Floyd Moos, dean of fine and performing arts, reflected on the changes the programs will go through to make them more useful for students.

"We understood that tomorrow's curriculum must be created today to work," Moos said.

The expansion comes as COC's student enrollment has soared over the last 20 years and the community college has grown physically, most notably with the creation of the University Center and Canyon Country campus.

"We have indeed dared to dream what was possible, and put the foundation under those dreams," Van Hook said.


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