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Trustees at the groundbreaking.

For immediate release — May 9, 2008 

(DALLAS) — “In the past, promises were made to West Dallas that were not kept. We will honor our commitment to you.”

Those words represent a promise made and a promise kept by the Dallas County Community College District to residents, businesses and officials from West Dallas. Dr. Wright Lassiter, DCCCD’s chancellor, shared his thoughts with representatives from DCCCD, West Dallas businesses, area chambers of commerce, city officials and neighborhood residents as they broke ground together and celebrated the construction of a new community education campus in their neighborhood.

The new satellite facility is one of five DCCCD community education campuses under construction in Dallas County that is funded by the district’s bond program, which was approved by voters in 2004. The El Centro College West Dallas Campus, located at N. Hampton Road, is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2009 and will offer academic and continuing education classes and opportunities to area residents. 

Plans feature a 33,800-square-foot facility at a cost of approximately $7.9 million. The satellite campus will offer adult basic education, developmental studies, limited credit classes, continuing and workforce education, and community development; a variety of support programs will complement those areas.

DCCCD’s five community education campuses will provide educational opportunities for underserved or fast-growing populations in the county. In addition to the West Dallas location, other sites include Pleasant Grove, Garland, south Irving and Coppell. Each new campus is designed to offer basic academic or Core Curriculum courses; continuing education classes that offer workforce development skills; and community-based networking to help residents access services they might need.

The event opened with a greeting from Fela Alfaro, executive dean of students at El Centro College, who also hosted the program; an invocation by the Rev. Arrvel Wilson, pastor of West Dallas Community Church; and presentation of the colors by the L.G. Pinkston High School ROTC Color Guard. 

Students raise their shovels at the groundbreaking.

Among the guests were DCCCD trustees Bob Ferguson, Kitty Boyle, Charletta Compton and Diana Flores, as well as the Hon. Mattie Nash. Approximately 50 students from Pinkston High School attended the program and came dressed in El Centro College T-shirts, celebrating ECC’s educational service to the community of more than 40 years.

Lassiter discussed the relationship that DCCCD has with the West Dallas community. He said, “We have talked to and worked with this community to share our dreams and our vision for the West Dallas Campus. ... In the past, promises were made to West Dallas that were not kept. We will honor our commitment to you.”

He added, “This new building is a true monument to what can happen in what has been a neglected area in Dallas.” 

Dr. Paul McCarthy, president of El Centro College, said, “Seeing is believing. People (in this community) will see that a college education can be real for themselves and their families as they drive by this location every day. Community colleges are open to everyone, and we will wrap our arms around our students, provide excellent professors, offer the services that students need and welcome the community to ensure that those students succeed.”

Other comments were delivered by ECC faculty member Richard Menchaca and ECC graduates Fernando Rubio and Tiffany Brackens. Architects, contractors, members of the DCCCD bond program office staff, chamber members and other groups that assisted with planning — faculty and administrators from El Centro and the community, for example — were introduced.

For more information, contact Charles Hedrick in the El Centro College marketing office at (214) 860-2036 or Ann Hatch in the DCCCD office of public and governmental affairs at (214) 860-2478.

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Press contact: Ann Hatch