Article - Office of College Advancement

Final touches being made to Ohlone College campus

Dedication set for Jan. 31

By Todd R. Brown, Staff writer.

Thursday, January 24, 2008—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

NEWARK—An Altamont Commuter Express train whizzed past the new Ohlone College campus in Newark, a reminder of the city's 19th-century origin as a railroad-linked suburb.

The main building points to a hopeful future with its much-touted "green" design, including solar power, geothermal heating and recycled jeans insulation.

That bold environmental vision becomes an everyday reality at 8 a.m. Monday, when the $118 million Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology welcomes students to classes after 21/2 years of construction.

"We're going around making sure everything is copacetic for them," said Gil Joseph of Fremont, a decade-long carpenter for Ohlone. "We should have this done today—hopefully."

Joseph was busy Tuesday installing tall white cabinets in a respiratory therapy classroom, while piles of books and a couple foam heads with tracheotomy tubes lay on tables waiting for a storage space.

"There were so many different classrooms spread out in Fremont," Joseph said, noting that now the various health disciplines will be under one roof. "This is really beautiful."

Carol McNamee-Cole, the respiratory therapist program director, said this is the first time in 28 years with the college that her office has been anywhere near her students' lab. Now, the Fremont resident can just peek through the window to monitor the class.

"We had tons of tanks all harnessed to the wall," she said of previous labs, compared with the center's piped-in gases. "This is just like a hospital. The students are going to have a really realistic experience."

While the campus is planned as "paperless," there still are plenty of textbooks and other printed items floating around.

"It's paperless, but the whole world isn't paperless yet," McNamee-Cole said.

On the downside, she said, an automatic projector screen hooked up to the Internet doesn't automatically descend yet—an example of some last-minute fixes needed at the center.

Ready or not, 3,500 enrollees will be moving through the doors this semester, said Doug Treadway, the college's president and superintendent.

He will address staff and faculty at 8 and 9 a.m. Friday at the new campus, 39399 Cherry St., regarding enrollment figures and the state's budget crisis. A dedication is planned at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 31, with Lt. Gov. John Garamendi set to attend.

By then, Treadway said he hopes that bricks engraved with names of Ohlone College Foundation donors will be laid after a delay caused by recent rainstorms. A "green-tie gala" also is planned to begin Feb. 2 at the center and end at the Newark-Fremont Hilton.

Gale Carli of San Mateo, Ohlone's dean of health sciences, strolled the new center Tuesday with several nursing staffers in order to gather their office keys and plug in their phones.

Besides the new digs, Carli said she was excited about the health program's recent collaboration with other departments to make required classes such as English and math more relevant to nursing and other students.

"Why not take that reading and gear it toward the health field?" she said.

For example, instead of reading Shakespeare, nursing professor Kim Stiles of Sunol said students might study feminist nurse and author Florence Nightingale.

"We're the first in the Bay Area that I know of to do that," she said.

Carli said the innovation is a result of her predecessors' interest in trying new methods instead of relying on tried-and-true tutelage—and the current administration's efforts to fuel Ohlone's rising reputation, including the green campus.

"Teachers get stuck. They don't take the time to go out on a limb," Carli said. "We have been visionary."

On the Web: Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology, http://www.ohlone.edu/org/newark.

Staff writer Todd R. Brown covers Newark, Ohlone College and ethnic community issues. Reach him at 510-353-7004 or todd.brown@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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