Allan Hancock College moving from Solvang Center to Santa Ynez Valley Union High School

SYV Star Staff Report

In an effort to increase its presence and offer more classes and services to residents in the Santa Ynez Valley, Allan Hancock College will relocate its center from Alisal Road to Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. The Santa Ynez Valley Center will open Monday, August 14, one week before fall classes begin.

“The move strengthens our commitment to provide quality educational opportunities to the Santa Ynez Valley,” said Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D., Hancock superintendent/president.

The Santa Ynez Valley Center will be located on the west side of the high school near the auto body lab and is accessible from the west entrance off Highway 246.  The center will feature two classrooms, including a computer lab, and two offices. On top of a full-time student services technician at the center, an academic counselor will be available to meet with high school students and community members.

“High school students and community members can register for classes, apply for financial aid, and map out their student education plan at the center,” said Nohemy Ornelas, Hancock’s associate superintendent/vice president, Student Services. “It will be a one-stop center for everyone, adults and high school students, in the valley.”

The college’s fall 2017 semester begins the week of August 21. Hancock’s Community Education program will offer more than one dozen noncredit classes at the Santa Ynez Valley Center in the fall. Noncredit classes are tuition free, though some material fees may apply. Community Education offers enrichment courses for older adults, as well as classes for those in the workforce looking to improve their job skills. Classes offered in the fall include American Sign Language; watercolor painting; English as a second language; GED preparation; and introduction to computers and computer programs.

The new center also takes the college’s partnership with Santa Ynez Valley Union High School to another level. For the last few years, Hancock has offered a variety of concurrent enrollment classes at the high school, allowing students to earn high school and college credit by completing courses like history and music during normal school hours. Scott Cory, superintendent of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District, said more than half of his students have completed at least one concurrent enrollment class. He believes the new center will benefit everyone in the valley.

“It seemed a natural progression with Allan Hancock College’s existing presence in the valley to find a way to do more for our students while at the same time do more for all valley residents,” said Cory. “Hancock staff will also relocate to the campus, which will provide significant help for our students in the areas of registration and academic counseling. With the college having access to our facilities, everyone in the valley will benefit because more courses will be offered for residents that otherwise would not be available to them.”

Greg Pensa, president of Allan Hancock College’s Board of Trustees, represents the Santa Ynez Valley. He sees the relocation as a win-win.

“The move to the high school will dramatically increase exposure to the college among high school students, their parents and the community,” said Pensa. “When it comes to community colleges in the valley, we want people to automatically think of Allan Hancock College. The new center will help accomplish this goal.”

The Santa Ynez Valley Center office will be open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m., and from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. on Fridays. More details about the new center will be released in the coming weeks.

Cory hopes Santa Ynez Valley residents take advantage of the opportunities provided to them by Hancock.

“I cannot say enough good things about the willingness of the Allan Hancock College staff and administration to think outside the box regarding the incorporation of our students into their programs and plans,” said Cory. “Allan Hancock College is one of the best community colleges in the nation. Now, Santa Ynez Valley high school students and adults will benefit from increased course offerings and services that ultimately will enhance their careers and livelihoods.”

Hancock students, instructors and staff will be required to display a parking permit in their vehicles while at the center. The parking permits will be distributed to students the first day of class at no charge. The permits will only be valid at the center for one semester, and not at the college’s other locations.

The fall credit and noncredit class schedules are available online at Registration for noncredit classes will begin July 24, while registration for credit classes is under way.

The college plans to hold an open house at the Santa Ynez Valley Center in the fall. For more information about the center or classes, please contact (805) 922-6966 ext.3350.

The college has offered classes in the Santa Ynez Valley for decades. Hancock opened the Solvang Center in 2000 to serve as a dedicated location to offer instruction and services. The Solvang Center will remain open through August 5.