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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

SMCC Opening New Laveen Campus

When classes begin on August 20, students at the Laveen Campus of the South Mountain Community College will have new digs, many new courses from which to choose and a host of community events to bring people together.

The college, which has offered classes since 2006 at Fairfax High School and in a few classrooms at an elementary school in Laveen, has rented four buildings at the old elementary school for the next 10 years and officials are excited about the expansion.

“We will have all kinds of good stuff,” said Dr. Eugene Young, site coordinator. “We will have fine arts, music including wind and string instruments. We are putting together a mariachi group and a Ballet Folklorico and regular academic classes.”

There will also be space for an art gallery, which will be run with the help of the Laveen Art League.

He said the academic classes will still help a student earn his or her AA degree or prepare them transfer to a four-year college.

Young said in the future, the college will offer allied health classes that will help students toward nursing degrees or EMT certification.

“This one of the fastest growing areas if he city,” Young said. “Our school system is expanding rather than contracting and we want to make sure there is a college experience out here because we do not have a bus system. We are hoping this will be a large event for Laveen.”

The new, expanded center will give the college greater presence and hopefully make it easier for it to become part of the community.

“This can be the core of Laveen since we don’t have a community center,” he said. The new center will now be open between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. for the first time offering daytime classes.

“We will also be making some classrooms available for community meetings and the like,” he said.

Something that everyone is excited about is the Saturday Seminars. During these special mornings, teachers will offer an hour-long class in some subject. On August 27, artist Susan Sanborn will offer the Clay Zoo and will teach children how to make animals from clay. On other Saturdays there will be an instrument petting zoo, guitar and piano lessons and much more for people of all ages.

Regular Friday night events will also appeal to Laveen residents.

Young said he hopes the Saturday workshops and a series of Friday night events will draw people to the campus.

“I hope they can get the feel that this is something they can use,” Young said.

Shelley Rogers Fletcher member of the Laveen Community Council and the Laveen Art League said it is good the college is settling down in one place.

“They have been wherever they could be. This is the first location where they have everything in once place,” she said. “They will make it feel like this is a piece of SMCC and there is room to grow.”

The rooms became available when construction of the new elementary school was completed this summer.

That means when the little kids move out, the big people can move in.

Sanborn, a school board member who also teaches life drawing, ceramics and introduction to art at the current SMCC in Laveen said she welcomes the expanded presence of the college.

She said there were plans to tear down the old school after the new one was finished, but she felt it needed to be preserved and that a good use might be found for it.
“I hated to see that property go to commercial use, rather than to give to the community for community use,” she said.

She said SMCC officials were looking at renting from the elementary school district, but the elementary school district wanted a long-term contract. South Mountain already owned property to build on some day and were thinking of a short-term lease.

They decided on a 10-year lease.

“They will be there for the next 10 years. If the economy changes, they can build on their own property,” she said.

“My idea was to have classes for seniors, children and activities that would bring the community together.

Sanborn said there will be a formal grand opening of the art gallery with a reception at 6 p.m. on September 9

The campus is the eastern four classroom buildings on the old Laveen Elementary at the south east corner of 51 Ave. and Dobbins.

To learn more call -602-243-8123 or visit  http://www.laveen.southmountaincc.edu”

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