By Brian Woods
Victor Valley College celebrated the grand opening of the new, state-of-the-art Student Services Center on February 7.
An audience of more than 300 attendees gathered outside the building’s entrance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and plaque unveiling. The center previously had its soft opening on January 23.
Vice President of Student Services Dr. Karen Engelsen provided the opening statement, welcoming students, guests and distinguished speakers to the event.
“This building celebrates our students,” Engelsen said. “VVC is your college … It’s the place where anybody with a desire can start.”
The Board of Trustees were seated on stage, alongside VVC Foundation members, the President’s Cabinet and Associated Study Body President Gabriel Kelvin.
Community leaders and elected officials were also in attendance, including San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood and the mayors of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Victorville.
“It is the greatest honor of my entire career and life to be in this position … When I arrived here in January of 2019, this was just ground that had been broken… We watched this structure go up and become the beautiful building it is today,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Daniel Walden. “It is now the face of our college and this community.”
Former VVC Trustee Joe Range attended the event, receiving an honorary plaque in recognition of his years committed to the College. Range served from 2003 until 2012 and was a key advocate for the development of a “One-Stop” center.
“He always had a vision” VVC Foundation Director Kirk Riding said of Range, before presenting him with an inscribed plaque on stage.
The 27,000-square-foot “One-Stop” center houses many departments in one convenient location, enhancing the student experience and streamlining essential services. Departments now located in the building include Admissions and Records, Assessments, the Bursar’s office, Counseling, EOPS, Financial Aid and the Transfer Center, among others.
The “One-Stop” features an open air environment, modern architecture and interactive, user-friendly technology available for student use.
Representatives from the building’s design firm, DLR Group, also attended the ceremony. Touted as the new structural and symbolic “front door” to the campus, the building acts as an inviting entry plaza and central hub for students and visitors.
“From the very beginning of this project, our aim was to enrich the user experience on campus,” DLR designer Matthew Streed told the Victor Valley Daily Press. “Our design facilitates increased efficiencies related to the way students access services, and promotes opportunities for better collaboration… between students and staff members.”
The grand opening concluded with a closing statement from Walden and the ceremonial ribbon cutting by Range.
Following the ceremony, Range’s wife, Cherie, thanked the college for making it “a very special day” for her husband.
“It was a vision that he worked on for years … a place that the students could go to for the beginning of their journey at VVC,” Cherie Range said. “This is a beautiful well-planned building.”
After the ribbon was cut, guests were then given guided tours of the new facility by VVC Rambassadors, student employees who assist, mentor and recruit students. A barbeque banquet and social mixer was also provided by the VVC Restaurant Management program.
The Student Services Center is now entirely open and operational, in time for the start of the Spring semester which begins February 18.