Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Awesome! But don't hold your breath

So, San Joaquin Delta College officials say that the south-county campus could be a beautiful bastion of "green" in just 15 years.

It sounds great. Awesome. Stupendous. But locals are encouraged not to get too excited, because so far the Mountain House campus has a history of not living up to expectations.

Back in 2004, voters passed a huge bond to the tune of $250 million to renovate the college's main Stockton campus and get the ball rolling on a modest but permanent campus in Mountain House.

For a variety of reasons, that didn't quite pan out. You can read some of the saga here, but suffice it to say that the process was a disaster. It opened several semesters late, with less bang for more buck, and lacking the gravitas typically befitting a college.

Furthermore, it's unknown exactly what kind of scrill voters will have to pony up to see the "green" vision at Delta's south-county campus become a reality. It could take another sizeable bond, and good luck getting that one passed any time soon.

In short, don't put too much stock in those predicitons for 2025.

That said, Mountain House has a collegiate learning center, and for that we should be thankful. Even though it's all portables and not exactly an eye-catcher, it's educating teens and adults alike. It fills a crucial role in our community, despite being a few miles outside Tracy.

And when it comes down to it, the way the college looks is secondary to the results it produces. I'd much rather have a beautiful, environmentally friendly, student-attracting permanent facility than the current portable-on-asphalt setup, but looking good on a brochure is not the primary mission of a college. It's to give folks the kind of education that leads to good jobs and stable communities.

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