By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
West Hills College Lemoore's new Student Union Center beginning to take shape

A once barren field west of the West Hills College Lemoore administration building is currently being transformed into the school’s new $13 million Student Union, a project that has been in the works for several years.

Groundbreaking was held several months ago and the site is finally buzzing with construction equipment and workers hoping to have the facility completed by October of 2016. Once completed, students will have an opportunity for a beautiful place to relax, complete their homework via its state-of-the art Wi-Fi system, and get something to eat, or maybe purchase a textbook in the new bookstore, also in the Student Union.

Architectural rendering of new WHC Lemoore Student Union
Architectural rendering of new WHC Lemoore Student Union

The Student Union project is just the latest chapter in West Hills College’s tremendous growth over the past decade or more. What was once a trailer on the former Hume Ave. in Lemoore is now one of the premier community colleges in California.

In the last few years WHC Lemoore has unveiled its state-of-the-art Golden Eagle Arena, created a women’s basketball team that ended up with a winning record in only its third year of existence and continues to attract a burgeoning enrollment.

The new student union will be the new home for the school’s cafeteria, bookstore, student government offices, and a place for students to socialize, go online, charge their iPads or cell phones and generally hang out with friends.

“It’s basically an area for students to gather and have tutoring sessions, group meetings and more. They’ll be Wi-Fi connected so they can do their homework assignments on whatever devices they have,” said West Hills College Lemoore President Don Warkentin.

Warkentin said the construction firm Solteck, out of Fresno, is doing the construction. “They started the project on August 1, 2015,” he said.

According Warkentin the new student union will be all encompassing.  “The West Hills Golden Eagle Student Union will be approximately 23,000 square feet, which is slightly smaller than our Library,” he said. “It will feature a four-station food court for hot entrees, deli sandwiches, soup and salad bar, hamburgers and more. The bookstore will feature the latest in Golden Eagle apparel along with school supplies, electronic software, books and iPads.”

Warkentin said the new student union will be located just west of the current administration building and will be an attractive and welcome addition for students. “Our student leaders will have an office and a meeting room for clubs and other student organizational activities,” he said. 

There will be state of the art sound along with flat screen TVs and adjustable furniture for various seating arrangements.  In fact, the dining area will seat 250 for casual dining and for banquets we will be able to accommodate 350. “We can also use it for banquets. Now we have them in the conference center, but we need something bigger, “said Warkentin.