The King City Education Center, now doubled in size to 25,000 square feet, will offer nine classes for college students this fall. (Contributed Photo)

SALINAS VALLEY — Soledad Education Center Director Ana Gonzalez spoke about the first week of classes at the new facility during Soledad City Council’s Sept. 1 meeting.

Gonzalez said she was excited to see students at the center, which began offering some in-person classes on Aug. 30, and with initial responses, Hartnell noticed the high demand for English as a Second Language instruction.

“We have recruited and enlisted another instructor, so we will be adding that course next week,” Gonzalez said. “We’re very happy to be serving here in Soledad.”

A community open house is in the works, with a focus on the Soledad community. 

Gonzalez said collaborations were being planned with the Soledad Unified School District to have student performers at the event and student art on display.

Many of Hartnell’s classes are currently online due to Covid-19 health restrictions.

“When we started to plan the fall classes, there were still a lot of unknowns and we did not know how things would go in terms of Covid,” Gonzalez said. “Initially, all classes were planned for online. During the middle of summer, things started to improve. We were able to work with faculty to be able to transition some of those classes to face-to-face and hybrid.”

The plan is to include less online-only options in the future.

“We are planning for the spring to be almost entirely face-to-face,” Gonzalez said. “There will still be online classes, but we are pretty much planning on returning back to the face-to-face mode. If something happens, then we’ll have to modify.”

Soledad Mayor Anna Velazquez thanked Gonzalez and Hartnell for what she called a “critical need” in the region.

“Having pathways to success and helping our students achieve that, we appreciate the work that has been done,” Velazquez said.

Hartnell’s newest facility, the 16,750-square-foot Soledad Education Center, was completed this spring and will hold classes for the first time this fall, offering eight courses in four subject areas. (Contributed Photo)

Soledad Education Center has a total of 185 students in both face-to-face and online offerings in 10 total classes.

All classes at both Soledad and the newly expanded King City Education Center were announced to be nearly full, according to a press release issued by Hartnell over the weekend. 

Both centers have new wet and dry science labs, flexible and interactive classrooms, community rooms and tutoring and study centers, known as Panther Learning Labs.

The community grand-opening celebration for the Soledad center will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, with tours and activities for all ages, as well as a free hot dog and hamburger lunch.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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