Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rio Salado Celebrates Downtown Opening

Rio Salado College invites the community to celebrate the opening of its downtown location at 619 N. 7th Avenue on Tuesday, April 10 beginning at 8 a.m. The event will include a welcome reception with refreshments, short program, ceremonial ribbon cutting and tours of the new facility and its sustainable features. The downtown location will serve residential and business community needs through Adult Basic Education (ABE), English Acquisition for Adults (ELAA), college transition services, post-secondary support services, as well as green workforce training.

"This innovative facility offers a variety of success pathways for students. Regardless of where students are in their educational journey, they are given opportunities to learn at Rio Salado Downtown,” said Dr. Chris Bustamante, president of Rio Salado College. “It also responds to the Maricopa Community College District’s call to create Educational Empowerment Zones that bring together cities, social service agencies, businesses and educational institutions to strengthen surrounding communities.”

Rio Salado Downtown takes a holistic approach to environmental and civic sustainability. Instruction will align with practices of economic, environmental and social sustainability across disciplines – in order to prepare students to think, live and work in ways that will preserve or improve the environment.

The location opened in January 2012 and replaced a previously existing facility. It currently serves more than 600 students a day. The location hosts in-person classes for GED exam preparation, English acquisition classes for adults, houses the Adults Achieving a College Education (AACE) program as well as college transition services. All learners are provided academic advising, counseling, computer labs and tutoring at the site.

Phase two of the facility includes a partnership with nonprofit Brighten a Life, who will provide two environmentally friendly, energy-efficient schoolhouses. The Green Schoolhouse Series replaces portable classrooms in low-income Title 1 public schools with sustainable, technologically-advanced classrooms to enhance student learning and revitalize the surrounding community.

“Students will not only address sustainability through academic classes, but through the workforce training and partnerships offered here,” said Dr. Jo Jorgenson, dean of instruction and community development at Rio Salado College. “Our Downtown location will prepare Phoenix residents to retool existing skills for emerging green jobs in an environment that fosters sustainable attitudes and abilities.”

Rio Salado Downtown was built with the goal of obtaining LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) GOLD certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 13,800 square foot, two-story facility, made possible by voter-approved 2004 bond, addressed sustainability in every aspect of construction from water, energy and light usage, to landscaping, HVAC systems and building materials.

Rio Salado College Downtown is open Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Saturday and Sunday. It is located at 619 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

About Rio:

Rio Salado College is one of ten Maricopa Community Colleges and the largest online public community college in the nation, serving nearly 70,000 students annually with more than 43,000 online. Founded in 1978, Rio Salado offers degree and certificate programs and general education courses. The college also provides support for dual enrollment, military and incarcerated students. It is the largest provider of adult basic education in Arizona and served more than 9,500 students last year.

Media Contact:
Delynn Bodine