By Ivan Cazares
Student speaker Robert Wideman thanked the East Los Angeles College community for providing students with new facilities during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Math and Science Building Thursday.
He also said an improvement in student’s motivation is visible since classes started in the new building. Wideman said the proximity of labs to classrooms helps him and other students focus on their studies.
The building replaced several bungalows and opened its doors to students at the beginning of the semester.
It houses most science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) departments with the exceptions of archeology, astronomy, physics and nursing.
The building also houses new labs, including a larger math tutoring lab.
ELAC President Marvin Martinez said the building replacing the G8 and H8 bungalows will complete what will be called the Math and Science Complex.
It will house the STEM departments that are still in bungalows.
“It’s a sign of respect to the students. It says ‘We, the community, are investing in you,’” Congresswoman Judy Chu said. Chu, who taught at ELAC for 13 years, said she was in awe at how much the college’s facilities have improved since she left in 2001.
Prior to the completion of the Math and Science Building, most of ELAC’s STEM programs where in bungalows, some of which were built in the 1950s. Chu said the bungalows were run down and weren’t equipped with air conditioning.
“I know the value community colleges have for students in this area. It is a low cost way to further their education,” Chu said. She also said the state-of-the-art buildings will better prepare students for the workforce.
Martinez credited Proposition 30 passed in 2012 and Measure J passed in 2008 with making it possible to build the Math and Science Building, the E3 building and the Student Center. During an American Federation of Teachers meeting on October 6. Prop.30 increased the sales tax in California as well as the income tax on Californians whose income exceeds $250,000 a year. Measure J is a bond measure approved in 2012 that allowed the Los Angeles Community College District to borrow $3.5 billion to improve its 9 schools’ facilities.
He also encouraged faculty at the AFT meeting to vote yes on Prop.55 and Affordable Education, Job Training and Classroom Safety Measure (Measure CC). Prop.55 would maintain the tax rates established by Prop.30 and Measure CC is a new bond measure put in the ballot by LACCD to fund its colleges’ projects.
Martinez said Prop.30 is essential to continue the progress California’s education system has made after facing devastating budget cuts. He also said the measure is crucial to fund the Los Angeles Community College District’s construction projects.