Cuesta College is proposing a new education center in Grover Beach to serve residents in the South County at one centralized location.

The proposed project is contingent on the Cuesta College Foundation raising $1.17 million to furnish and equip the new site. The decision to proceed will also require the approval of the Board of Trustees. A vote is set for the March 9 board meeting.

The leased building at 998 Huston Street in Grover Beach would provide 13,000 square feet of space for classrooms and offices, a computer lab, learning resource center and student support services. It is in an industrial park, centrally located for Five Cities residents, and has ample parking and proximity to major bus routes.

The College now rents classroom space from Lucia Mar Unified School District at Arroyo Grande and Nipomo high schools. However, Cuesta is only able to offer evening classes to students after 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

The new location would allow Cuesta College to eventually offer day, evening and weekend classes in a comparable learning environment on par with the college’s San Luis Obispo and North County campuses.

The proposal includes a long-term lease that will give the College greater certainty with its rental costs. The property owner has also agreed to renovate the space to create classrooms and offices at no additional cost to the College.

The Cuesta College Foundation Campaign Committee is spearheading the fundraising efforts for the College. The committee is composed of Foundation volunteers: chairman Doug Hilton, a retired superior court judge, Charlie Cabassi, Ken Levine, Sandy Morris, Pragna Patel, Anita Robinson and Rob Strong.

“This is the right plan,” said Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork. “More than a decade ago, the College expanded to make good on what was then a 30-year-old promise to establish a permanent facility in the North County. Now is the time to fulfill the promise of an independent Cuesta College South County Education Center.”

At the request of local city leaders, Cuesta College presented the proposal Feb. 7 to the Grover Beach City Council and will address the Pismo Beach City Council on Feb. 15 and the Arroyo Grande City Council on March 22 during the public comment period.

If the project is approved by the Cuesta College trustees in March, the new center is projected to open for the fall 2012 semester.

Released Feb. 11, 2011