Southwestern students to see new improvements on campus this fall

School adds facilities, solar array

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - This fall, students at Southwestern College will notice some major changes at the campus.

"We've been waiting for many years to have an opportunity to make some phenomenal changes for the college," said Terry Davis, Dean of the School of Health and the college's Athletic Director.

Some of those changes had been decades in the making, with the biggest change being a four-story, $23 million Health, Exercise Science, and Athletics building in DeVore Stadium.

"All our programs will benefit," said Davis.

The new facility has locker rooms for men's and women's athletic programs, office space, classrooms, meeting rooms, a state-of-the-art theater and a massive weight room. All of the rooms have massive windows that open up to the stadium.

The turf at the stadium has also been replaced with artificial turf, saving approximately a million gallons of water a year.

Six parking lots are also in the process of being covered with massive solar panels. The solar array will generate three megawatts of power and save the school $660,000 every year.

"This is the largest single array on a single site in the SDG&E footprint," said Bond Program Manager Mark Claussen.

The most visible improvement will eventually be the corner lot between H Street and Otay Lakes Road.

"You know, it's a sorry little piece of land. It's been waiting for something to happen for a long, long time," said Claussen.

The school district is working on plans to install a wellness center, pools, parking and a performing arts building on the lot. Details are still being finalized.

"Well, I think the important part is we're going forward with a well-defined master plan," added Clausen.

"We're hoping that they (potential students) see this and they go, 'Hey, I want to go here because this college is moving in the right direction,'" said Davis.

Voters approved funding for the construction in 2008 by supporting Proposition R, which provides $389 million to Southwestern College for improvements.

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