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Santa Ana College hosts grand opening of Centennial Education Center - Sept. 22

The Centennial Education Center (CEC) Child Development Center, a 30-year-old, 3,036-square-foot facility in Santa Ana, originally constructed to serve the educational needs of 45 young children, is now serving 200.

In celebration, on Wednesday, September 22, Santa Ana College (SAC) will host a grand opening at 3:00 p.m. to dedicate the recently renovated CEC Child Development Center. The event, slated for the playground courtyard of the facility at SAC’s Centennial Education Center at 2900 W. Edinger Ave., Santa Ana, will feature musical entertainment by Mariachi Los Alazanes. Light refreshments will be served and tours will be provided.

The CEC Child Development Center provides quality early childhood education for 192 young children, many of whom are the children of CEC’s own students.

“This center allows us to nurture and educate our students’ children,” said Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D, SAC president. “Without this Child Development Center, many of CEC’s students would be unable to enroll in the classes they need to seek gainful employment or to complete their higher education.”

This project was made possible by funding from two sources. Measure E, the general obligation bond approved by voters in 2002, provided nearly $288,000 for various aspects of the construction. The lion’s share of the funding came through a $600,000 Hispanic Serving Institutions Assisting Communities (HSIAC) grant from the Office of University Partnerships (OUP), part of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The total cost of the renovation was nearly $687,000.

These funds allowed for the demolition and renovation of the center’s interior workspace, updating of plumbing, mechanical, and electrical infrastructures, new windows, concrete flooring, reflective ceiling installation, and renewed landscaping.

Previously, the center had a very small kitchen for snack and hot lunch preparation that functioned well when the center served 45 children as it did in 1980, but was inadequate for the needs of nearly 200 children. There was no dedicated teacher workspace. Thanks to the grant, teachers’ offices and the kitchen have been expanded to function more effectively. A small, but now separate teacher work area has been added that provides much needed privacy for conversations with parents.

An earlier HSIAC grant in 1999 had funded the establishment of the Santa Ana College Microenterprise Center, which continues to provide non-credit Spanish-language family child care provider training program for the community. The second grant expanded the provider training to include the Vietnamese community. In total, more than 1,200 have graduated from both programs.

“Thanks to the HUD grants, Santa Ana College has educated many Vietnamese- and Spanish-speaking residents about state child care provider licensing requirements and helped future child care providers understand age-appropriate activities for children,” said Gloria Guzman, HUD grant administrator. “The latest grant has allowed us to take the next step in assisting parents and child care providers.”

The HUD grant also funded a new service for the college and the central Orange County community—the Parent and Early Child Care Provider Professional Resource Center. The center offers teachers and child care providers access to a laminator, computer, a die cut machine, as well as professional books. For area parents, the center has brochures about child development issues, information about family support services in Orange County, and books for children. The center provides space for parent meetings and special trainings. Additionally, the HUD grant underwrote support and leadership training for the Spanish-speaking family child care provider professional association of Orange County, ALCI (Asociación Latina para el Cuidado Infantil).

The grand opening event is sponsored by Bernards, the construction management firm that assisted with this project.

For more information about Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Child Development Services, call (714) 480-7546.

About Rancho Santiago Community College District Child Development Services

Rancho Santiago Community College District operates five child development centers serving Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon colleges’ students’ child care needs. Each center supports and promotes the district’s commitment to student success by providing access to vital, comprehensive, and quality early childhood education programs and services, which reflect and address the needs of a diverse community. The four long-standing centers hold national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Five Star Quality Ratings through the Orange County United Way.

About the Rancho Santiago Community College District

The mission of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is to respond to the educational needs of an ever-changing community and to provide programs and services that reflect academic excellence. Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of RSCCD, which serve the residents of Anaheim Hills, East Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, customized training for business and industry, and programs to train nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

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