Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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‘We’re still rising’: BCC celebrates 50th anniversary

College throws block party and breaks ground on new building
Peralta+Trustee+Paulina+Gonzalez+Brito+addresses+the+crowd+at+Berkeley+City+College%E2%80%99s+50th+anniversary+celebration.+The+event+featured+a+block+party+along+with+a+groundbreaking+ceremony+for+the+college%E2%80%99s+new+Milvia+Street+building.+%28Photo%3A+Marcus+Creel%2FPCCD%29
Peralta Trustee Paulina Gonzalez Brito addresses the crowd at Berkeley City College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The event featured a block party along with a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)

Looking down Center Street on April 22, crowds of people could be seen gathered outside of Berkeley City College (BCC) to attend a block party, with free food, a live DJ, and a horse. The occasion marked not only the 50th anniversary for the college, but also featured a groundbreaking ceremony for the college’s new Milvia Street building.

“I think a lot of people got the chance to see what we’re all about,” BCC President Denise Richardson said to The Citizen. “We are alive and well, and […] we are thriving. There have been many challenges to education recently, but we’re still rising.”

Tacos Sinaloa, a local restaurant and food truck chain, provided free food for the event. The horse, named L.B., had a long line of people eagerly waiting for their turn to ride him free of charge. Long lines of info booths offered student information about BCC programs and clubs.

According to a timeline posted to BCC’s website, Berkeley City College was founded in 1974 under the name Berkeley Learning Pavillion. It joined PCCD as the fourth college in the district, later renaming itself to The Peralta College for Non-Traditional Study.

The campus of the college was scattered across many locations and school sites throughout Berkeley, even having set up operations in parts of Oakland. At its peak, the college taught at over 200 locations. In 1978, the college underwent its third name change, becoming Vista College.

In June 2006, the college made its final name change, changing to Berkeley City College. Later that year, the dream for a single campus for the college was finally realized with the construction of the current BCC campus, funded by multiple state and local bond initiatives.

Now a new chapter for BCC has opened up with the groundbreaking ceremony for the BCC Milvia West Campus Building, funded by bond Measure G. The six-story building is being built to create classrooms, offices, art studios, as well as host new curriculums and programs to attract more students. The new building is also set to include a “Health Center, Multi-Cultural Center, Student Lounge, and Learning Resource Center,” according to the project description. The construction for the building is set to be finished by June 30, 2026.

BCC’s Vice President of Administrative Services, Sean Brooks, hosted the groundbreaking ceremony. Other speakers included Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, BCC President Denise Richardson, and PCCD Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson.

“It’s fitting that on this 50th anniversary we’re not only reflecting on our past, but we’re looking to the future,” Arreguín said. “And with today’s groundbreaking, we know that the next 50 years for Berkeley City College look promising,”

About the Contributor
Sam O'Neil
Sam O'Neil, Associate Editor
Full of ambition, this is Sam’s second semester at Laney and as Associate Editor of The Citizen. Stumbling into the journalism class in Fall 2023 thinking it was a basic news writing class, he quickly fell in love with the craft, and became obsessed with anything related to Peralta and its community. He currently holds the proud badge of attending every single PCCD Board of Trustees meeting since he started here.
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