$1.3 million RHC Pico Rivera Educational Center coming this Fall

The conceptual design of the Rio Hondo College Educational Center in Pico Rivera. (Courtesy of Rio Hondo College)
The conceptual design of the Rio Hondo College Educational Center in Pico Rivera.
(Courtesy of Rio Hondo College)

Rio Hondo recently partnered up with the El Rancho Unified School District to bring a $1.3 million satellite campus to the city of Pico Rivera in time for the fall semester.

The Pico Rivera Educational Center will be located at the former site of the El Rancho Unified School District Adult School, directly across the street from El Rancho High School.

The new educational center will be Rio’s third satellite campus established within the past five years, with each campus bordering Rio in the cities of Pico Rivera, El Monte and South Whittier.

“Our mission at Rio Hondo is to support our community by providing access to college education opportunities,” said Rio Hondo President Teresa Dreyfuss to Whittier Daily News, “These centers are bringing that mission closer to home across our service area.”

According to officials, the college will upgrade seven buildings that span 6,720 square feet and integrate modern technology learning tools into six classrooms and offices.

The educational center will also provide both a shaded campus quad and 1.3 acres of parking.

“The satellite campus will increase the accessibility our students and the community have to a higher education and professional development,” said ERUSD Board President Aurora Villon. “We look forward to a robust course offering that will complement our curriculum and give students the opportunity to earn college credit.”

A Pico Rivera Educational Center Advisory Committee meeting was held on Feb. 25 at the El Rancho Adult Education Center, co-chaired by Dreyfuss and Director of Government and Community Relations Russell Castañeda-Calleros.

Trustee Vicky Santana attended the meeting along with many RHC administrators, El Rancho Unified School District representatives, staff members of elected officials and the City of Pico Rivera, and other community partners.

Architect Greg White gave the committee members a project update and projected timeline, and announced that construction will begin this summer in order to begin offering classes by Fall 2016.

White showed renderings of the site plan and of the three different signs and colors, explaining that the overall goal is to create a collegiate feel with a beautiful setting.

The site plan includes a new restroom all per code, enhanced concrete area, french drain landscaping Wheaton and an outdoor canopy for shade.

The center will also provide free Wi-Fi and power sources for students to charge their phones and laptops.

Rio satellite campus expansion planning has been ongoing since 2004 when voters passed Measure A, a facilities bond for upgrading college facilities.

In 2010, Rio opened its South Whittier Education Center and most recently the El Monte Education Center opened in 2013.

“It’s highly rewarding to know that by creating campuses of convenience, we’re also delivering the promise of a higher education to a larger share of our community,” said Rio Hondo Board of Trustees President Madeline Shapiro.

Currently, Rio requires students enrolling in distance education classes to be residents of the State of California.

The satellite campuses offer a great alternative to students who work full-time or cannot always attend the main campus.

“We will transform a closed facility into a thriving educational facility, (while making it) convenient for students who are juggling multiple responsibilities to maintain their educational goals despite challenges with time or transportation,” said Santana.

Groundbreaking of the site will take place at the Educational Center on May 5.

A ‘Save the Date’ flyer will be created early this month. In the meantime, all the committee members received the approved “Coming Soon” flyer via email in order to spread word-of-mouth at upcoming district and community events.

ERHS also passed out hundreds of the “Coming Soon” flyers at their “Future Don Night” event to students and parents.