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Kevin G. Walthers: Supporting Hancock’s future with your vote
Guest Commentary

Kevin G. Walthers: Supporting Hancock’s future with your vote

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Kevin-Walthers

Dr. Kevin Walthers, Superintendent/President of Allan Hancock College, is to be recognized at the upcoming Community Action Commission 12th annual "Champions Dinner."

The last decade brought a world of change to the Allan Hancock College campus. Almost every week I hear from someone in our community about how Hancock has been transformed since they attended here.

It’s true – with funds approved a dozen years ago, the college has created a central location for student services, new labs for nursing and science, and state-of-the art training facilities for industrial technology and our public safety academies.

Even with the new construction, more than half of the buildings on the Santa Maria campus were built in the 1960s. It’s a testament to our maintenance staff that these facilities can still function as viable instructional spaces. It’s also a reflection of our college culture that sees the value of investing in ongoing maintenance to ensure that our facilities remain viable. In the last fiscal year, the college allocated more than $5 million toward maintenance of our buildings and infrastructure.

This year, we are asking our community to help us take the next big step in modernizing the Hancock campus by asking voters to approve a bond in November. The bond will address some of our oldest facilities in Santa Maria and provide enhancements to our training programs in Lompoc and the Santa Ynez Valley. The November bond initiative asks for an authorization of $75 million and will cancel the remaining balance available from Measure I, for a net request of $41 million.

Our past investments in new facilities have expanded the ability of our faculty to provide “traditional” career education training in public safety, nursing, agriculture, automotive technology, welding, and machining. The new request continues that theme, but with an eye toward 21st-century career education fields. The new Fine Arts Complex will include training programs in graphic design, computer animation, and digital photography. The AHC Foundation currently holds a $10 million bequest from Patty Boyd that will fund a recital hall open to the community. A separate state matching grant of $24 million, along with bond funds will help us complete this project.

On the west side of campus, additional funds will be used to replace the aging classrooms in the physical education building. More than just the athletic facility, this is the home of our sports medicine, kinesiology and recreation management programs. In the southern part of the district, the bond will enhance and modernize facilities used by career education programs that entertain audiences and protect communities across the region.

The bond will enhance training provided at the Lompoc Valley Center’s Public Safety Training Complex – home to our law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, and environmental health and safety programs; and upgrade equipment for PCPA’s training programs at the Solvang Festival Theater.

As the only provider of affordable higher education in Northern Santa Barbara County, Allan Hancock College is committed to helping students enter careers that allow them to succeed in the modern economy. Your support of new facilities is critical to ensuring the success of our students.

Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D., is the superintendent/president of Allan Hancock College. To learn more about the 2018 bond, please visit www.hancockcollege.edu/2018Bond.

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