City College expands; New building at Davis Center nears completion

Jason Pierce
News Editor

Phase two of Sacramento City College’s presence in Davis is almost complete. A new three-story, 15,800-square-foot building is being constructed in the heart of University of California, Davis’s, West Village, more than doubling the size of the Davis Center.

The Los Rios Community College District Board of Trustees plans to hold a meeting at the Davis Center April 11, followed by a ribbon cutting at 2:30 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the new building.

“The main advantage to the new building is it allows us to provide lab sciences, so it helps us fill out the program that we provide at this site,” said Don Palm, dean of the Davis Center and interim vice president of instruction on the main campus. “This just broadens tremendously the kinds of majors that we can provide a complete lower division for. In the past, we could do a complete general education program, but students had only a very limited selection of the sciences.

“What students don’t always understand,” said Palm, “is that they really can get their whole general education program here. That makes it even more true now, as they can get their whole lower division transfer program here, too, so if they make the trip here, they should plan on scheduling two or three classes to make the trip worth it.”

Students living outside Sacramento indicated that the new building will be a big help.

“A lot of people were commuting from Elk Grove because this is where the classes were offered, (but) it was an inconvenience to them,” said City College student and sociology major Gabby Mejia. “I’ve been lucky to get the classes I need, or I take them online, rather than commuting because it’s a long commute, especially with the traffic in the afternoons.”

Mejia added that she thinks it would be helpful if the classes she needs were offered in Davis.

“Last semester I took an ethics studies class, and I had to go to West Sac because it wasn’t offered here, and space is very limited,” said Mejia.

The new building at SCC Davis Center is almost complete. It's expected to be finished by the end of March 2018 with a ribbon cutting on April 11, 2018. | Photo by Jason Pierce | News Editor |

The new building at SCC Davis Center is almost complete. It’s expected to be finished by the end of March 2018 with a ribbon cutting on April 11, 2018. | Photo by Jason Pierce | News Editor |

Construction of the the new building started in September 2016 and is expected to be finished by March 2018, completing the second of three phases as City College expands in Davis, according to Palm.

“When we open, we should expand pretty quickly by about four or five hundred students, and we will just keep growing from there,” said Palm. “On this site there is actually a third building that is part of the site plan, so we will eventually build out so we will have around 8,000 students.”

There are no current dates for phase three, Palm said.

Construction costs for the new building are just over $11 million, according to Scott Battles, facilities manager for the Los Rios district.

“It’s a joint project,” said Battles. “It’s partially state funded and then locally funded through measure M, which is a local bond that Los Rios put out.”

The Davis Center is located in the West Village portion of the UC Davis campus, and the whole project is LEED-certified, according to Palm. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most recognized approval of environmental sustainability in the country, according to the United States Green Building Council.

“(West Village is) the nation’s largest planned zero net energy neighborhood,” said Palm. “They have never quite gotten there, but over 80 percent of their energy is self generated.”

The Davis Center opened 51 years ago in 1966 using rented space, churches and schools around town while gradually growing, according to Palm.

“In the ’90’s (the Davis Center) was in a little building that is now a dental office. It had four classrooms and four or five parking spaces,” said Palm.

The current Davis Center opened in 2012 after another brief expansion in South Davis, when  student enrollment reached around 2,000, according to Palm.

“Parking is easy, the staff is friendly, it’s a pretty small place,” said Palm. “You can always get access to me or to the staff if you want help. You can do all of those students services things— you can do placement, financial aid, counseling—and that can all happen here and is a lot more accessible because it’s only 2,000 students instead 23,000.”