By Aliyah Mohammed, Published February 2, 2017.
Milpitas High School students and the public sat down for the first day of classes Monday at Milpitas’ extension of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District, located at 1450 Escuela Parkway.
High school students attended an afternoon business class and in the evening adult students converged on campus for the first day of a medical assisting course. The other five courses have been delayed to begin on Feb. 13 due to low enrollment, which means community members who were contemplating signing up for a class and didn’t make the deadline can do so now.
Other class offerings held two days a week in the evenings will include oral communication, English composition, Mexican-American history, statistics, algebra and general psychology.
On Monday night, as students one by one walked into the large extension building trying to find their classes, Jorge Escobar, vice president of administrative services for San Jose City College and the project lead for the extension, said the spring 2017 semester would be a soft opening for the facility adjacent to Thomas Russell Middle School.
“We are looking to start slowly, and develop a robust summer and fall program, inclusive of Adult Education classes, community education, dual enrollment at the high school and our coding academy, Escobar said.
Escobar added something that is being implemented at the Milpitas extension is a San Jose City College program called 2021 Scholars, which will provide course textbooks to students for free. The extension will through grants purchase the required learning material and textbooks and then lend them to students for the semester.
“We are trying to remove one of the barriers to access to college education, which is the high cost of textbooks,” Escobar said on Monday.
The community college extension consists of four classrooms, two lecture halls, one computer science lab and one biology lab as well as administrative offices and a hub where students can study, work on course work or collaborate. The facility can accommodate around 280 students during the day — 130 Milpitas High students and 150 adult learners — and 240 students in the evenings.
Escobar said he is looking to work closely with Milpitas High Principal Phil Morales to grow the high school’s use of the facility during the day. “They are interested in using the biology lab for a biotechnology track for students", Escobar said.
In addition, Milpitas High students will be able to be dual enrolled in the school district and in the community college district, and take classes that could count toward an associate’s degree or could be used to transfer to a University of California or California State University campus. Currently, 35 high school students are enrolled in a business class, while 35 are enrolled in an anthropology class.
The new facility, which will offer general education and transfer-level classes to Milpitas students and residents starting this month, is supposed to fulfill a commitment made by the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District under the 2004 voter-approved Measure G.
The measure was to allocate $185 million to the San Jose-Evergreen district. The land for the facility was donated by Milpitas Unified School District, while the facility was constructed by the college district for $11.5 million.
Escobar said in terms of splitting operating costs the community college was assuming 60 percent and Milpitas Unified was taking on 40 percent. He added the facility’s full-year operational costs are expected to be $1 million.
“We are thrilled to open the site, it’s been an expectation of the community in both districts and we are looking forward to the interaction with Milpitas Unified high schools including Calaveras Hills High School principal and administration to make it a successful operation,” Escobar said.
To find out more about class times or how to sign up, visit www.sjcc.edu/discover-sjcc/sjeccd-milpitas-extension.