Residents and officials from the Pass area, Riverside County and Mt. San Jacinto College gathered on Jan. 13, 2010 to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new college facility in Banning. MSJC’s educational facility on Sunset and Westward avenues will be the first public institution of higher education in the San Gorgonio Pass.
The crowd cheered as a bulldozer pulled down part of an old house, marking the first step in construction of the new facility.
Speakers included Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, Banning City Councilman Don Robinson, Sean McMurray of Banning Unified School District, MSJC Trustee Eugene Kadow and MSJC Superintendent/President Roger Schultz.
MSJC Board members Ann Motte and Gwendolyn Schlange also attended the event.
Ronna Kadow, Banning Chamber of Commerce general manager, and Kathy Munyas, executive director of Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, hosted a joint mixer after the groundbreaking ceremony.
The celebration came after Banning’s Community Redevelopment Agency appropriated $750,000 in July for on- and off-site improvements, including demolition of existing buildings, grading, water and sewer hookups and parking lots.
The facility will be built on two of 50 acres the college owns south of Interstate 10. Modular buildings will be installed over the course of the next several months. They will house six classrooms, offices and restrooms. The site will also include a parking lot. The facility will provide a full array of educational offerings, including day, night and weekend classes. MSJC currently holds classes at Banning and Beaumont high schools, but is unable to offer day or weekend courses at those campuses. MSJC officials hope to begin offering classes at the new site next year.