A MiraCosta Community College Veteran graduate. Photo courtesy MCC

MiraCosta College has secured $1.5 million in state funding to help equip and furnish a new Veterans Center being planned for the Oceanside Campus. A ceremonial check presentation from State Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, who was instrumental in procuring the $1.5 million, is set for Thursday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m. on the Oceanside Campus.

“MiraCosta College each year serves almost 3,500 students who are veterans, active-duty personnel, or military dependents, and these funds will go a long way toward furthering the college’s commitment to making sure they get the resources they deserve after giving so much in serving our nation,” said MiraCosta College superintendent/president Sunita “Sunny” Cooke. “MiraCosta is grateful for Assemblymember Boerner Horvath’s efforts in providing funds that will ensure the new Veterans Center is in keeping with the culture of CARE for which MiraCosta is known.”

Assemblymember Boerner Horvath said supporting veterans is vital: “As a representative of one of the largest military communities in the state, one of my top priorities is to ensure that our veterans receive the quality care, education, and services they earned while serving our country. I am proud to have secured $1.5 million in the state budget to expand veterans’ resources at MiraCosta College to help veterans transition from the military into civilian life.”

The 1,424-square-foot Veterans Center will be housed in a new Student Services Building at MiraCosta College’s Pedley Park near the Administration Building. The $1.5 million in funding will help equip an 800-square-foot lounge and resource area, in addition to offices for the veterans services program manager, a Veterans Administration representative and a trio of counselors, as well as a veterans patio. Computer stations and printers, a bolstered textbook loan program, and expanded outreach and communications to Camp Pendleton – the West Coast’s largest Marine Corps base and home to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force – are among the planned enhancements.

Moreover, because the Veterans Center will be housed in a new, one-stop-shop Student Services Building, veterans, active duty military and their dependents will no longer have to visit various offices tucked away in different parts of the campus to find the staff and resources they need. “We currently have students going from one building to another to get needed services they need,” said Vice President of Student Services Alketa Wojcik, who noted that counseling offices are tucked away in a building near the center of campus, while the current veterans center is housed in a trailer near a campus parking lot.

The new Student Services Building, including the expanded Veterans Center, is being financed through a voter-approved $455-million bond program aimed at modernizing the San Elijo and Oceanside campuses and the MiraCosta College Community Learning Center.

The Veterans Center is now in the design phase; construction is expected to begin in approximately 12 months.