New Educational Facility at Mesa College Opens to Serve Growing Need for Allied Health Professionals

Amidst a sea of students in crisp scrubs and stethoscopes,150 college and community guests  of the the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) celebrated the formal opening Wednesday of its newest teaching and learning facility, the Mesa College Allied Health Education and Training Facility.  With the completion of the $28.9 million facility, funded through the District’s $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program, the District is positioned as the regional leader in providing hundreds of skilled professionals ready to meet California’s skyrocketing demand for jobs in dental assisting, medical assisting, radiologic technology and other allied healthcare fields.

“The San Diego Community College District is committed to providing support for job training, especially in the health services, which touch the lives and health of the entire population,” said Constance M. Carroll, Chancellor,.  “We are grateful to the San Diego voters who passed the bond measures that make this type of progressive education possible.”

The new Mesa College Allied Health building  is a three-story, 50,000 square foot facility that includes classrooms equipped with smart technology, and state-of-the-art laboratories outfitted to simulate real-world medical and healthcare facilities. The project, which began construction in May 2008, was completed on time and within budget and ready to accommodate students for fall semester. August 24 opening of the fall semester,.

“This building is more than classrooms and laboratories.  This building represents hope for the future.  Hope not only for our students, but also for our economy,” said Rich Grosch, President of the SDCCD Board of Trustees..  “There will be hundreds of thousands of jobs that come out of this facility, and if there’s one thing that will get California out of its economic downturn, it’s projects such as these.”

His remarks underscore a report released in August by the California Wellness Foundation, which recognizes the allied health field  as a significant force in the California economy, accounting for approximately $23 billion in payroll.  By the year 2030, the state’s projected one million allied health workers will have a collective earning power of more than $116 billion.

Mesa College President Rita M. Cepeda remarked on the cooperative process that created a facility that not only meets the needs of students, but of the regional healthcare industry. “Our partners have great vested interest in the quality of our programs and in the trained professionals we prepare,” she said.

In fact, the facility was designed as a shared community resource to not only trainin students but to train encumbant workers requiring additional training, licenses and certification in their field, “It’s a great resource for the entire community,” noted Margie Fritch, Dean of Health Sciences and Public Services.

Mesa  College offers six associate degree and three certificate programs in six Allied Health fields. The new facility  houses five of its six Allied Health programs  including dental assisting, health information technology, medical assisting, physical therapy, radiologic technologyFour of these fields are ranked among the most in-demand health care fields through 2014 by the San Diego Workforce Partnership. Animal Health Technology is also offered

The building also serves as a living laboratory for ‘green’ construction.  The project is currently undergoing the application process to be certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold project by the United States Green Building Council.  Sustainable features include:

  • The project maximizes use of natural lighting. In addition to reducing energy demands from artificial lighting, natural light is shown to reduce eyestrain and increase productivity. People function better in light‐filled environments.
  • All windows utilize ‘high performance’ glass that allows sunlight to filter into the building, but reduces the amount of UV light and solar heat entering the building.
  • All walls and roof areas are highly insulated, helping to conserve energy resources and making the building more comfortable by maintaining a healthy and uniform temperature.
  • Linoleum flooring, a natural material made from linseed oil, is used extensively throughout the building.
  • Energy efficient design and features help Allied Health exceed California’s Title 24 energy requirements by 7.4%
  • Allied Health will get some of its energy from the photovoltaic panels on the nearby parking structure, boosting the building’s energy efficiency cost savings to 58.7% compared to a standard building

The Propositions S and N construction program is providing for new instructional facilities, major renovations and campus-wide infrastructure projects at City, Mesa and Miramar Colleges, and six Continuing Education campuses. For additional information, please visit www.sdccdprops-n.com.

Among the largest community colleges in California and the nation, San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited two-year college offering more than 170 associate degree and certificate programs. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution. The college also serves as an important economic catalyst for the region. Its career programs include allied health fields, biopharmaceutical, multimedia, animal health technology, American Sign Language, hospitality, fashion, architecture, interior design and more. Situated on a sprawling, suburban 104-acre mesa in the geographic center of San Diego, the college’s small classes, outstanding faculty, diverse student population and reputation for quality offer an unparalleled academic experience. www.sdmesa.edu.