18 C O M M U N I T Y C O N N E C T I O N S The Desert Community College District covers a nearly 4,000-square- mile region, making transportation a challenge for many students throughout the CoachellaValley and beyond. College of the Desert has spent the past decade improving access to a higher quality education for students by creating campuses in Desert Hot Springs, Indio, Mecca/Thermal and, now Palm Springs. The college also offers classes at Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage high schools. The college performs constant self-analysis to best position itself to meet the present and future needs of the students and the Coachella Valley community.The new five-year Educational Master Plan helps define a large part of that goal. COD continues to broaden opportunities for students to advance their skills in Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). One of the ways the college plans to build on that success is by providing an interdisciplinary research center at the Mecca/Thermal Campus that incorporates the new Observatory, the future Roadrunner Farms, and and research of the nearby Salton Sea. The new Observatory at the Mecca/Thermal Campus exists thanks to generous donor Ivoj Kudrnac, a Palm Desert resident who provided the college 1-meter and 17-inch telescopes, and the funding to build the 16-foot dome and observatory that will benefit students focused on multiple STEM disciplines. The Desert Hot Springs Campus opened at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year, providing several classrooms to serve up to 300 students at the Edward L.Wenzlaff Education Center. The Indio Campus has been so successful that plans are in the works to double its size in the next few years to further meet ongoing and future demands in the growing eastern CoachellaValley.The campus will also soon open a student-operated café that will be located on the first floor of the existing campus. While new facilities were not built at the Palm Desert Campus in the 2016-2017 academic year, some of the 60-year-old community college College Expands Access Throughout the District district’s original buildings underwent renovations. Over the next year-plus, the college will renovate the Hilb Building to preserve John CarlWarnecke’s construction in the center of the main campus.The project will enable the facility to host the college library and learning resource center for its growing student population. TheTemporary Palm Springs Campus opening in January 2018 will offer students more than three dozen courses when it opens, providing the western CoachellaValley much-improved access to the college. The eventual permanent Palm Springs Campus will focus on the four pillars of hospitality and tourism; allied health; media and the arts; and sustainability technology.These specialized career and technical education programs demonstrate a significant commitment by the college to provide the best workforce training and career-themed academic instruction. College of the Desert’s leaders continuously evaluate facility and renovation needs at California’s fastest-growing community college to further improve student success and outcomes. College of the Desert Campus Locations