Located in the heart of San Diego’s innovation corridor, the college’s South Education Center delivers core classes and key partnerships with local high schools and industry.
RANCHO BERNARDO — In what Palomar College officials describe as a watershed moment for an institution that has served North County for more than 70 years, the college’s South Education Center will open in June on a hillside overlooking one of the most important industry corridors in San Diego.
Surrounded by technology firms and innovative businesses representing a variety of industries, the center is conveniently located a mile and a half west of Interstate 15 off Rancho Bernardo Road. Here, Palomar will be able to provide a range of key courses and programs closer to home for students in the southern portions of the Palomar Community College District.
“This beautiful new education center is all about students, from the design of the site to the classes we will be providing here,” Superintendent/President Dr. Joi Lin Blake said when the center was introduced to the community earlier this month. “We’re thrilled to be able to better serve our students in Rancho Bernardo and the surrounding communities.”
With a new four-story, 110,000-square-foot building and an accompanying parking structure, the 27-acre site has plenty of room to serve future generations of Palomar College students. And it opens for classes on June 11.
According to Jack Kahn, Assistant Superintendent/Vice President, Instructional Services, academics at the Rancho Bernardo center will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).
“Students here can get a transfer degree in biology, math, or communication, or a certificate in Alcohol and other Drug Studies,” Kahn said. “The center will also offer coursework in architecture, computer science, digital broadcast arts, interior design, and more.”
In addition to solid academics and stunning views of the inland valley, the center will provide a full range of support services to help students achieve their educational goals. These include admissions, financial aid, counseling, student affairs, a library, a Teaching & Learning Center, tutoring, bookstore, and campus security provided by the Palomar College Police Department.
“The college looked at a lot of data and had a lot of conversations,” Kahn said. “We started with a diverse group of faculty and staff who met for many months poring over data and talking with people in various communities.”
The new center is also designed to better serve a growing number of “dual-enrollment” students in the Poway Unified School District (PUSD), one of a dozen K-12 districts served by Palomar College. Under dual enrollment, students from the PUSD (or any other the other K-12 district partner) can take classes at Palomar tuition-free, potentially earning their associate degree at or before their high school graduation and transferring to a four-year college or university debt-free.
Palomar College Professor Jim Fent said that opening a new location in a different community is a great way to give more room to a growing program like Alcohol and Other Drug Studies, which he oversees.
“I’m going to teach a class there in the fall and I’m really looking forward to it,” Fent said, praising the quality of the new campus, as well as its central location. “There are a lot of facilities in the Rancho Bernardo area where our students can intern, so having a campus in that community will increase the chances of our students getting hired.”
“We have a lot of students from a little bit further south,” Fent added, “so we can now make these courses available to them in a more convenient location.”