Cabrillo’s beautiful new digs

Places like Cabrillo College are often referred to as “junior colleges” or “jucos” in the vernacular. But in Cabrillo’s case, “junior” isn’t a term that fits very well anymore, at least judging by the college’s dazzling new five-building arts complex.

I got the chance to tour the new arts “village” earlier this week, and the upshot was something unexpected: It made me want to go to college again. Funded by two separate bond measures, the Cabrillo arts complex is undeniably impressive, an exquisitely engineered group of facilities that — I have to say it — looks like it compares favorably to any four-year university around.

The new complex includes three academic areas in which Cabrillo already enjoyed a fine reputation in the community: the fine arts, music and theater. In the first category, the new place features top-of-the-line facilities for drawing/painting, ceramics, metalwork, printmaking and more. The music recital hall is an acoustical showplace, and the new Crocker Theater has vaulted to the top of performance venues in Santa Cruz County.

This fall, Cabrillo will be unveiling the new theater with a grand opening weekend on Oct. 9. We’ll cover that more as we get closer. However much the general public will like the new 550-plus-seat theater (and it will impress), the real value in the new Visual and Performing Arts Complex will be for the students learning in the best environment possible.

Heck, I’d love to go to school there.

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