Representatives from Orange Coast College and the Coast Community College District will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for OCC's new Maritime Training Center on Sept. 23 at 1:30 p.m. The new Center is located across Pacific Coast Highway from the College's Sailing and Rowing Base on Newport Harbor.
The two-story, 12,000-square-foot project is the result of more than 15 years of planning by the Coast Community College District. The Center will be built above ground-level parking and connected to OCC's harbor side facility by a skyway bridge over PCH. The $22 million project is funded by the local Measure M school bond, passed by voters in 2012.
Once construction is complete in Fall 2021, the building will be the new home for OCC's growing Professional Mariner Program, which is dedicated to students who are pursuing careers in boating and maritime related fields. Beyond classrooms, the facility will include a state-of-the-art laboratory space, a full mission bridge simulator, a radar training room, conference room, and a student lounge.
According to Brad Avery, OCC's Director of Marine Programs, the new building represents a major leap forward for OCC's boating education programs. "When completed and connected to our waterfront facility, we will have a fully integrated maritime education center," Avery said, adding: "This helps us greatly in our mission of helping students acquire the knowledge and skills required for success in a variety of maritime careers."
OCC's Marine Program currently serves more than 1,500 students and adults annually. Professional Mariner students pursue certificate and degree programs, while local residents take advantage of the dozens of boating and seamanship courses regularly offered. While some professional mariner students choose to go straight into the industry, others transfer to four-year maritime academies.