A celebration was held on February 7 of one of the Westside’s most impressive economic development projects, a new North District Center building in Firebaugh.
The groundbreaking ceremony featured guest speakers including elected officials and city and college leaders.
“Our children deserve the same chances right here in Firebaugh as they do throughout the rest of the state,” said Joaquin Arambula, California State Assemblymember. “I anticipate over time we will see this community continue to develop.”
The groundbreaking event took place on the lot where the new 41,263 square foot center will be built. The new center will feature classroom, lab, library and office space as well as a new Fresno County library and field office for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The facility will replace the current 11,764 square foot center.
Other speakers at the event included West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees President Mark McKean; Brian Pacheco, Fresno County Board of Supervisors; Felipe Perez, Mayor of Firebaugh; Gilbert Coelho, Chairperson of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee; Phil Larson, WHCCD Foundation Board member; and Brenda Thames, President of West Hills College Coalinga. The Firebaugh High School Choir sang the National Anthem.
“If no campus existed here, most of these students wouldn’t be attending college so improving the facilities for these students is a high priority,” said Brian Pacheco, County Supervisor.
Mark McKean, President of the West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees,
“This is a true game changer,” said McKean. “This is for the many many students who are able to walk to this campus and get an education who otherwise would have said ‘you know I can’t do this, I can’t take this step.’ When you come to this campus it’s a breath of fresh air to see students taking advantage of this campus.”
The current timeline for the project is a two-year construction period, with the center opening in 2022.