As construction of Orange Coast College’s Professional Mariner Training Center nears completion, the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees approved a new name for the College’s Newport Beach facilities at an April 7 meeting: the Orange Coast College Waterfront Campus.
Previously named the Intercollegiate Rowing and Sailing Base, the new name will reflect a recent expansion of the Newport Harbor facility, including a $22 million maritime training center connected to the harbor-side facility by a skyway bridge over Pacific Coast Highway.
“The renaming of OCC’s Waterfront Campus reinforces the College’s reputation as being a destination college that reflects the highest standards in higher education,” says College President Angelica Suarez. “We are thrilled to provide a top-notch facility for our maritime students who are seeking training and education in order to either transfer to a four-year program, or earn a certificate to further their career goals.”
The Waterfront Campus, like OCC’s main campus, will be open to the general public when construction is complete this summer. This includes access to the skyway bridge and other resources, like OCC’s nautical library.
“The response to expanding our waterfront presence in Newport Beach has been very positive, both locally and within the larger maritime and boating community that we serve,” says Waterfront Campus Director Sarah Hirsch. “Our community boating, intercollegiate rowing, and professional mariner programs will continue to grow and evolve with our new designation as OCC’s Waterfront Campus, and our mission to provide nautical education of the highest quality will continue.”
The 12,000-square-foot maritime center will be the new home for OCC’s Professional Mariner Program, which is dedicated to students who are pursuing careers in boating and maritime-related fields. The building is two-stories high, with the ground floor serving as a parking structure, and will include classroom and lab space, a radar training room, conference room, student lounge and a Full Mission Bridge Simulator, valued at approximately half a million dollars.
“The OCC Waterfront Campus offers a landmark to all who drive down Pacific Coast Highway under the Mariner Mile bridge,” says Coast District Chancellor John Weispfenning. “This campus marks maritime education and achievement, and is itself a bridge connecting our many communities with life-changing opportunities.”
Coast District Board Trustee President Jim Moreno echoes Chancellor Weispfenning’s optimism about the future of maritime education at OCC, and the impact it will have on the local community.
“The OCC Waterfront Campus is the culmination of decades of support from Coast District communities, Orange County, the City of Newport Beach, and our many champions,” said Coast District Board of Trustees President Jim Moreno. “What we have managed to build together, both in terms of physical presence and academic programs, represents the promise of a seafaring community with global reach.”
About Orange Coast College
Orange Coast College, founded in 1947, is one of the nation’s top transfer schools. With a student population of 25,000, OCC provides exemplary programs leading to Associate degrees and 130 career programs. The college’s 164-acre campus is located in the heart of Costa Mesa.